Monday, October 8, 2018

September 2018, Current Affair’s

1.   Justice Tahira Safdar has been sworn-in as the first woman Chief Justice of Balochistan High Court at a ceremony held at the Governor House in Balochistan. She will remain in this post until 4 October 2019. With this, she became the first female chief justice of any court in the history of Pakistan. Earlier, Safdar created history in 1982 when she became the first female civil judge in Balochistan. Currently, Justice Tahira is a member of the 3-judge special court conducting the trial of former president Pervez Musharraf for committing treason by proclaiming a state of emergency on 3rd November 2007.

2.     The 4th International Ayurveda Congress (IAvC) 2018 has been inaugurated by Minister of State for AYUSH Shripad Yesso Naik at Leiden, the Netherlands on September 1. The congress would focus on promotion and propagation of Ayurveda in the Netherlands and its neighbouring countries of Europe. The 2-day congress is jointly organized by International Maharishi Ayurveda Foundation (Netherlands), All India Ayurvedic Congress (New Delhi) and the International Academy of Ayurveda (Pune) in association with the Indian Embassy in the Netherlands. A special Seminar is also organized by the Indian Embassy titled “India-Netherlands collaboration in Healthcare, including Ayurveda”.

3.      Pranab Bardhan (60) and Shibnath Sarkar (56) have created history by clinching India’s first-ever gold in bridge at the Asian Games. They finished at the top after scoring 384 points in the final of the men’s bridge pair event at the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games. The Chinese pair of Lixin Yang and Gang Chen won the silver with a score of 378 and the Indonesian combination of Henky Lasut and Freddy Eddy Manoppo bagged the bronze scoring 374 here. The card game has been featured as a sport at the Asian Games for the first time, in the 2018 edition.

4.      Sunil Mehta, the MD &chief executive of Punjab National Bank (PNB), has been elected as the new chairman of the Indian Banks Association (IBA) for 2018-19. Apart from him, Dinabandhu Mohapatra, MD & CEO of Bank of India (BoI), has been elected as IBA’s Deputy Chairman. The IBA is a representative body of management of banking in India and has its headquarters in Mumbai.

5.      Binoy Kumar, the 1983 batch IAS officer of the Telengana cadre, has assumed charged as the new Secretary of the Ministry of Steel on September 1, 2018. He had been posted as Officer on Special Duty in the Steel Ministry since May 21, 2018. He succeeded Aruna Sharma, who recently superannuated. Prior to this, Binoy Kumar held the post of Special Secretary, Logistics, in the Department of Commerce, where he continued to hold additional charge till 31st July 2018. He also held the post of Director General (Supplies & Disposals), where he developed the Government e-Marketplace (GeM) as a one-stop online public procurement platform, in line with the digital initiatives of the Government of India (GoI).

6. Two Indians, Dr. Bharat Vatwani and Sonam Wangchuk received the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award for 2018 on August 31. The award, which is regarded as the Asian version of the Nobel Prize, was established in 1957. The Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation, in its citation, stated that Wangchuk was recognised for his uniquely systematic, collaborative and community-driven reform of learning systems in remote northern India, thus improving the life opportunities of Ladakhi youth. Vatwani was recognised for his tremendous courage and healing compassion in embracing India’s mentally-afflicted destitute. Beside them, Youk Chhang from Cambodia, Maria de Lourdes Martins Cruz from East Timor, Howard Dee from the Philippines and Vo Thi Hoang Yen from Vietnam are the other winners of the 2018 award.

7.    Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Nepalese counterpart K P Sharma Oli jointly inaugurated a 400-bed Nepal-Bharat Maitri Pashupati Dharamshala in Kathmandu, Nepal. It is a rest house for pilgrims, which is located on the banks of the Bagmati River. The Dharmashala is build with the Indian assistance and has provision for family rooms, kitchen, dining hall, library and some multipurpose halls to meet the requirements of the travellers and families on pilgrimage to Pashupatinath Temple.

8.    Renowned Digambar Jain Muni Tarun Sagar ji (51), who was popularly known for his sermons titled ‘Kadve Pravachan’, has passed away in New Delhi on September 1, 2018. He was born as Pawan Kumar Jain on 1967 in Damoh district of Madhya Pradesh, and accepted celibacy and decided to lead a life of a monk in the year 1981. Unlike most other Digambar jain monks, his audience often includes a majority of non-Jains. His discourses often address family or society issues, topics generally avoided by other Jain monks. All his life, he spread the message of peace and non-violence in the society.

9.    On September 1, Indian boxer Amit Panghal from Haryana won a historic gold after beating Rio Olympics gold medallist Hasanboy Dusmatov in the final of Men’s Light Flyweight 49kg category at the Jakarta Asian Games 2018. It is India’s only boxing gold at the 18th Asiad. With this, Panghal became the 8th Indian boxer to claim the gold medal at the Asian Games. Beside him, Vikas Krishan Yadav (75kg) settled for the bronze in the ongoing event. In the 2014 Asian Games, M.C. Mary Kom was the lone gold medallist for India. While, Vijender Singh and Vikas Krishan were the last set of male gold medallists for India at the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games.

10.  Well-known neurosurgeon Dr. Basant Kumar Mishra from Odisha has been named for prestigious Dr B.C. Roy National Award for year 2018 as Eminent Medical Person of the Year. It is the highest medical honour of India, which will be given away by President Ram Nath Kovind on July 1, 2019. It was instituted by the Medical Council of India (MCI) in 1962. Presently, Mishra is leading the Department of Neurosurgery & Gamma Knife Radio surgery at Hinduja Hospital in Mumbai. He is also the secretary of International Neurosurgeon Council. During his career, Misra has several firsts to his credit, including image guided aneurysm microsurgery, first doctor in South Asia to perform gamma knife radiosurgery and first in the country to perform awake craniotomy for brain tumours.

11.  Japanese swimmer Rikako Ikee (18) became the first female athlete to be named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) at Asian Games after she scooped an unprecedented six gold medals in the Jakarta pool. She also won two silvers. With this, Ikee also became the first female athlete in any sport to win six gold medals at a single Asian Games. Only North Korean shooter So Gin-man, who won 7 golds and a silver at 1982 New Delhi Games, has won more titles at one Asian Games. Beside this, Ikee also became the 4th Japanese athlete to win the MVP award since its inception at the 1998 Bangkok Games.

12.  The Rajasthan government has decided to organise special employment camps in all district headquarters of the state to give government jobs to at least one person from the family of those who were martyred after 1947 but none of their kin was given a job. As per officials, there are more than 1,100 such martyrs in the state whose kin had not been given government jobs. Through the special camps, one dependent of those martyrs will now get a job, which will be organised from 15th September 2018. The first camp will be held in Jhunjhunu. It was recently announced by Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje at a public meeting in Barmer district, during her pre-poll tour ‘Rajasthan Gaurav Yatra’.

13.  In Men’s hockey, Indian men’s national field hockey team defeated arch rival Pakistan 2-1 to clinch a Bronze at the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games. Akashdeep hit the first goal and 2nd was scored by Harmanpreet. Pakistan’s lone goal came from a counter-attack scored by Muhammad Atiq. With this, India ranked at 8th position with 69 medals – 15 gold, 24 Silver and 30 Bronze – at the 18th Asian Games. China leads the medals tally followed by Japan.

14.  Singapore is currently holding the Chair of ASEAN. There, the 6th East Asia Summit- Economic Ministers’ Meeting (EAS-EMM) and 15th India-ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Meeting (AEM) was held in September 1, 2018. It was attended by Economic Ministers from 10 ASEAN countries and their 8 dialogue partners – Australia, China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, the Russian Federation and the United States. The meeting recognized the importance of ongoing work to maximize the opportunities of, and address the challenges presented by, the digital economy and the rise of regional and global value chains, as part of their efforts to promote economic growth and integration in the region. It was announced in the Singapore meeting that the next ASEAN-India Business Summit will be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in November 2018, which will be followed by the 4th India-ASEAN Dialogue Partner Expo and Summit scheduled for 21-23 February 2019, in New Delhi.

15.  Rani Rampal, the Indian women hockey captain, was India’s flag-bearer at the closing ceremony of the 18th Asian Games 2018. India ended their Asian Games 2018 campaign with the highest medal tally at the tournament ever, with a total of 69 medals which includes 15 gold, 24 silver and 30 bronze medals. In addition to local artists and a Chinese segment, the South Korean boybands Super Junior and iKon, and Indian singer Sidharth Slathia performed in the closing ceremony. More than 10,000 athletes gave their best at the Asian Games 2018, winning medals for their respective countries. 465 gold medals were won by the athletes of 28 countries. 37 out of 45 participating nations were able to win medals at the Asian Games 2018. China finished on top of the medal tally with 132 gold medals. Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra was India’s flag-bearer at the opening ceremony. In it, the Games flag for the 2022 Asian Games received by Mayor of Hangzhou Xu Liyi.

16.  The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has recently released the draft rules on sale of drugs by e-pharmacies with an aim to regulate online sale of medicines across the country. It aims at providing patients accessibility to genuine drugs from authentic online portals. The draft rules on “sale of drugs by e-pharmacy” stated that no person will distribute or sell, stock, exhibit or offer for sale of drugs through e-pharmacy portal unless registered. The new draft rules require e-pharmacies to be registered with the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) and obtain a trade licence — applicable across India — from any state government. The drugs sold online would need prescription and the pharmacy will have to maintain a detailed record. However, there should be strict confidentiality and no patient information should be leaked domestically or internationally. There should also be facility for customer support and grievance redressal. Though, sale of tranquillisers, psychotropic drugs, narcotics and habit forming drugs have been prohibited through these portals.

17.  The book “Moving On, Moving Forward: A year in Office” has been authored by Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu, which was recently released by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The book is based on Naidu’s tenure as Vice-President and Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. He talks about his vision in the chapter ‘Retired from politics but not from public life’. As Chairman, he also records his disappointment over the first two sessions of the House he presided over. The 245-page book with 7 chapters deals with Naidu’s focussed engagement on four key issues — unrealised demographic dividend, need for an effective ecosystem for farmers to thrive, scientific advancements to better the life of people and public awareness about rich Indian heritage.

18.  The World Coconut Day (WCD) is observed every year on September 2 to enhance coconut farming with focus on productivity and product diversification. The day is also celebrated to commemorate the formation day of Asian Pacific Coconut Community (APCC). In India, the day is celebrated every year under the aegis of Coconut Development Board (CDB) in various coconut growing states across the country. The 2018 theme is “Coconut for Good Health, Wealth & Wellnessis”. APCC is an inter-governmental organisation of 18 member countries mandated to promote, coordinate and harmonize coconut developmental activities of the Asian Pacific region to achieve maximum economic development. India is one of the founder members of APCC. India is one of the founder members of APCC and stands first in global coconut production and productivity. The annual coconut production of India is 2437.80 crore and the productivity is 11616 coconuts per hectare.

19.  Arthur Pereira (70), the former Maharashtra football player, has passed away on September 3, 2018. He toured Russia as a striker with the Indian team in 1971. He also represented Maharashtra in the national championships for the Santosh Trophy from 1971 to 1976. Pereira played for several clubs in the city, including the well-known Orkay Mills. After his playing career, Pereira became a Physical Education teacher at St Joseph’s School in suburban Malad.

20.  According to Reserve Bank of India (RBI)’s annual data, Mauritius accounted for the largest source of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into India in the financial year FY18 followed by Singapore. The data shows that the total India’s FDI stood at $37.36 billion in the FY18, which is a marginal rise over the $36.31 billion recorded in the previous fiscal FY17. The provisional data for the financial year ended March revealed that FDI into the manufacturing sector witnessed a substantial decline to $7.06 billion, as against $11.97 billion in the year-ago period. However, FDI into communication services rose to $8.8 billion in 2017-18 as compared to $5.8 billion. The inflows into retail and wholesale trade also shot up to $4.47 billion as against $2.77 billion, while financial services sector too witnessed a rise in inflows to $4.07 billion from $3.73 billion in the previous year.

21.  Union Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports (I/C) Col Rajyavardhan Rathore has approved the participation of Kho Kho team from India at the First International Kho Kho Championship in England from 1st to 4th September, 2018, with financial support from the Government of India (GoI). Financial support for participation of the Kho Kho team in an International event has been approved for the first time in relaxation of extant guidelines of the Ministry which, inter-alia, lay down that sports disciplines like Kho Kho, which are categorised as “Others”, will not be eligible for financial support for participation in International sporting events. The decision to provide financial support to the Kho Kho Federation of India has been taken with a view not only to give fillip to this traditional Indian sports and sportspersons but also to pave the way for its future mainstreaming at the International level and its possible inclusion in multi-disciplinary sporting events like the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, Olympics, etc.

22.  The major Indian ocean-wide tsunami mock exercise (drill) “IOWave18” has started from September 4, which is being organized by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO. The purpose of the 2-day exercise is to increase tsunami preparedness, evaluate response capabilities in each state and improve coordination throughout the region. It will also enhance tsunami preparedness at the community level. The IOWave18 exercise will simulate Indian Ocean countries being put in a tsunami warning situation and require the National Tsunami Warning Centre (NTWC), i.e., INCOIS in case of India, and the National and Local Disaster Management Offices (NDMO/LDMO) to implement their Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). India along with 23 other nations is participating in the tsunami mock exercise that would involve evacuation of thousands of people from coastal areas in over half a dozen states.

23.  Anjum Moudgil and Apurvi Chandela became the first set of Indian shooters to secure quota places for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Moudgil finished 2nd on the podium and won a silver in the women’s 10m air rifle event of the ISSF’s World Championship 2018 in Changwon, South Korea on September 3. Chandela finished 4th in the same event. This is the premier tournament of the ISSF and assumes added significance as it is the first Olympic quota event for the Tokyo Games, offering as many as 60 berths across 15 events. Though the two shooters have secured quotas, as per the stated policy, the National Rifle Association of India(NRAI) will take the final call on selection. This will be based on the aggregate scores of shooters leading up to the Olympic Games.

24.  On September 3, India and Cyprus signed two agreements on combating money laundering and cooperation in the field of environment in the presence of President Ram Nath Kovind and his Cypriot counterpart Nicos Anastasiades in Nicosia. Both the countries also agreed for the revision in the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) made in 2016 to further enhance investment partnership to grow by strengthening the institutional framework to facilitate investment cross flows. Beside this, Cyprus also reaffirmed its support to India for its membership of the Nuclear Supplier’s Group (NSG) and UN Security Council (UNSC). Mr. Kovind is in Cyprus on the first leg of his three-nation visit to Europe to continue India’s high-level engagements with European countries.

25.  The US researchers have developed a wearable device that could generate energy from the swing of an arm while walking or jogging. The device, about the size of a wristwatch, produces enough power to run a personal health monitoring system. The prototype watch is apparently made from a crystal material, which can produce an electric current when compressed or can change shape when an electric charge is applied. This is called the “piezoelectric effect” and is used in ultrasound and sonar devices, as well as energy harvesting. The researchers used a well-known piezoelectric material ‘PZT’ and coated it on both sides of a flexible metal foil to a thickness four or five times greater than in previous devices. The compressive stresses that are created in the film as it is grown on the flexible metal foils also mean that the PZT films can sustain high strains without cracking, making for more robust devices. The researchers behind the device come from Pennsylvania State University’s Materials Research Institute and the University of Utah. The research was published in the journal Advanced Functional Materials.

26.  Former England captain Alastair Cook, who is country’s highest run- scorer in Test cricket, will retire from international cricket after the 5th and final match against India at the Oval, starting September 7. So far, he scored 12,254 runs at an average of 44.88 with 32 hundreds and 56 half centuries in 160 Tests. His highest Test score of 294 came against India at Birmingham during the 2011 series.

27.  India will host its first-ever official FIBA 3×3 World Tour Masters 2018 in Hyderabad, which is scheduled to be held from September 22. It is one of the most prestigious basketball tournaments in the world. The Hyderabad Masters will see participation from the leading international 3×3 teams and top two Indian 3BL teams – Delhi 3BL & Bangalore 3BL. The qualification for the Indian teams was decided on the basis of the results of the inaugural season of 3×3 Pro Basketball League (3BL) which was held from June 9 to August 26 across six cities in India. Hyderabad Masters is the 7th stage of the FIBA 3×3 World Tour and is the first time an international 3×3 basketball tournament is being played in India. The participating teams will compete for a chance to qualify for the FIBA 3×3 World Tour Bloomage Beijing Final on October 27-28.

28.  The Government of India (GoI) will observe September as National Nutrition Month (NNM) across the country to mark the fight against malnutrition. During this month, various programmes have been organized by the Women and Child Development (WCD) Ministry to spread broad awareness on the issues related to malnutrition like stunting, under-nutrition, anaemia and low birth weight in children. The Nutrition Month will also focus on adolescent girls, pregnant women and lactating mothers to eliminate the deficiencies prevailing in the Health sector. The NNM will be celebrated every year with the aim to bring down stunting of children in the age group of 0-6 years from 38% to 25% by 2022. The POSHAN Abhiyaan – the National Nutrition Mission was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan on 2018 International Women’s Day (IWD).

29.  Nepal is hosting the International Women Entrepreneurs Summit (IWES) 2018 in Kathmandu with theme “Equality begins with Economic Empowerment” from September 3. The main purpose of the 3-day summit is to bring together achievers, women business leaders, professionals, international service providers, resource organizations, experts, government representatives and other stakeholders with a focus on innovative economic transformation through discussions and collaborations. The delegates from the SAARC, ASEAN, EU, Africa, Arab countries and China participating in the summit. The event is organised by the South Asian Women Development Forum (SAWDF).

30.  The joint military exercise “Rapid Trident 2018″ has started in the western Ukrainian village of Starychi, which will continue from September 2 to 15. It was launched by Ukraine with the United States and a string of other NATO countries as tensions with Russia remain high over the Kremlin-backed insurgency in the country’s east. The aim of the exercise is to practice countering armed aggression in conditions of the hybrid war. The exercise is composed of a multinational, brigade-level, computer-assisted command post exercise i.e. integrated with a battalion-level field training exercise, and a platoon-level situational training exercise. The Rapid Trident 2018 started a week before Russia holds its biggest military exercise ” Vostok-2018″ since the Cold War, in the east of the country and with the participation of China and Mongolia. Approx 2,200 soldiers from 14 nations are participating in the exercise.

31.  The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has recently introduced Internal Ombudsman (IO) scheme 2018 to tighten internal grievance redressal system at Scheduled Commercial Banks (SCBs). In it, RBI has given statutory powers to Internal Ombudsman (IO) under section 35 A of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949. The central bank has tightened the selection and operating procedure for IO in banks and made it mandatory for lenders with more than 10 branches (excluding Regional Rural Banks) to have an independent authority to review complaints that were partially or wholly rejected by the respective banks. An ombudsman is a person officially charged with investigating and addressing public complaints or violation of rights. The tenure of the IO cannot be more than 5 years and it is not open to reappointment. An IO also cannot be removed without consent from the RBI. This new post will not report to the bank’s CEO but to the customer service committee of the bank.

32.  The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has recently announced to launch Mars Mission “HOPE”, which is expected to be launched by 2020. Upon launch, it will become the first mission to Mars by any Arab or Muslim country. The aim of the mission is to enrich the capabilities of Emirati engineers and to increase human knowledge about the Martian atmosphere. The Hope probe will study the atmospheric layers of Mars in detail and will provide data to study the causes of the corrosion of its surface that has made it impossible for water to exist on the planet. The project will also provide insights about the weather on the Red Planet. It will observe weather phenomena such as dust storms and changes in temperature and how the atmosphere interacts with topography, from the highest volcano peaks to ice sheets to the vast deserts and the deepest canyons. It is expected to reach Mars in 2021, which coincides with the 50th anniversary of the UAE’s formation.

33.  The first round of the ‘two-plus-two dialogue’ between India and the US will be held in New Delhi on September 6. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will hold talks with their counterparts US Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo and Defence Secretary James N Mattis. Issues like enhancing trade, ways to counter terrorism and India’s concerns over the Trump administration’s decision to make changes in the H1B visa programme are expected to figure during the event. On US sanctions on the import of Iranian oil, India will explain to the US its position on the issue, including how the import has been crucial for India’s energy security. Both sides will discuss the long-pending Communications, Compatibility, Security Agreement “COMCASA”. It will help India obtain critical and encrypted defence technologies for Indian defence platforms from the US.

34.  The 2018 edition of Maralal International Camel Derby event was held at Maralal town in Kenya. It is best Kenya’s best known and most prestigious camel race that attracts both local and international competitors. The event is a major draw for spectators as well as racers. It is an entertaining festival of fun and local competition that brings this small desert town to life.

35.  In a bid to boost Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship ‘Digital India’ campaign, the Rajasthan government has decided to provide free mobile phones to women of Below Poverty Line (BPL) families under the Bhamashah Yojana. The aim of the scheme is to transfer financial and non-financial benefits of government schemes in a transparent manner. The state government will also provide free Wifi facilities to as many as 5,000 gram panchayats to ensure that the state is well connected with the outside world. This programme commenced on September 1 and will end on September 30.

36.  The International Aviation Summit 2018 was held in New Delhi from September 3-4, which was jointly organized by the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA), the Airports Authority India (AAI) and International Air Transport Association (IATA). The summit commemorates the approaching milestone of 50-straight months of double digit domestic growth for Indian aviation. More than 700 delegates and leaders attended the summit. In it, Civil Aviation minister Suresh Prabhu revealed that the Civil Aviation Ministry is coming up with Vision 2035 under which it plans to build 100 new airports across India in the next 10-15 years with an investment of $60 billion and address the major issues concerning aviation industry such as airport infrastructure, taxation and use of technology.

37.  Aurora Prize Laureate Kyaw Hla Aung, a noted lawyer and activist from Myanmar, has recently announced to donate his $1 million award money towards humanitarian relief work among Rohingya refugees. He was given the 2018 award for his fight against injustice and advocating on behalf of the Rohingya people. The money will be distributed among three international organisations — Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF), the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) and MERCY Malaysia — who are providing medical aid and assistance to Rohingya refugees across South East Asia. This initiative will benefit around 3,75,000 Rohingya refugees.

38.  Dr Arif Alvi has been elected as the new President of Pakistan and will take the oath of the office on September 9. He will succeed Mamnoon Hussain. Dr. Alvi is a close ally of Prime Minister Imran Khan and one of the founding members of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party.

39.  The Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) has approved a proposal by the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) to increase the wages of artisans by over 36%, from Rs 5.50 per hank previously to Rs 7.50 per hank. The proposal for an increase in wages to khadi spinners along with payment of government subsidy — Modified Market Development Assistance (MMDA) — has been approved with effect from August 15, 2018. Under the MMDA programme, 30% of the prime cost is paid to the khadi institutions as production subsidy. Of this 30%, 40% goes to artisans as wage incentives and the remaining 60% goes to the khadi institutions. The wage incentives are paid by KVIC directly to the accounts of the artisans through direct benefit transfer. As a result, if an artisan makes 20 hanks in a day — he will get Rs 150 per day as wage at the rate of Rs 7.50 per hank, plus incentives including MMDA, which would be approximately 35% on Rs 150, that is Rs 52.

40.  Indian Shooter Om Prakash Mitharwal clinched his first gold in the 50m pistol event at the 2018 International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Championships in Changwon, South Korea on September 4. Mitharwal, who won bronze in the 10m air pistol and the 50m pistol events of the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, shot a score of 564 to finish on top at ISSF Championships.

41.  The joint maritime naval exercise “SLINEX-2018” will be held between Indian & Sri Lankan navy at Trincomalee, Sri Lanka from September 7 to 13. The exercise which was previously held biannually has been converted to an annual event from year 2018 to enhance cooperation in the maritime domain and to further strengthen mutual trust and interoperability between the two navies. The exercise to be conducted in two phases, namely the Harbour and Sea Phase, will involve conduct of joint training, exchange of expertise, helicopter and maritime patrol aircraft operations, search and rescue, and maneuvers at sea. It would also involve sports fixtures and cultural events which would provide an opportunity for personnel from both navies to learn from each other and to build individual bonds of friendship and camaraderie.

42.  India and France has recently signed an agreement to collaborate on ISRO’s first human spaceflight programme “Gaganyaan”. It was announcement by French space agency president Jean-Yves Le Gall at the 6th edition of the Bengaluru Space Expo. The first step under the MoU is to exchange specialists to work on (space) medicine. The ambit of the cooperation includes giving ISRO access to space hospital facilities in France and combining expertise of the two space agencies in fields of space medicine, astronaut health monitoring, life support, radiation protection, space debris protection and personal hygiene system. The two space agencies also plan to work on Mars, Venus and asteroids. The aim of the Gaganyaan mission is to send a 3-member crew to space for a period of 5 to 7 days by 2022. Its objectives are to inspire youth, increase science and technology levels in the country, improve industrial growth, develop technology for social benefits, etc.

43.  On September 4, Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu launched Coffee Connect – India coffee field force app & Coffee KrishiTharanga – an IVR-based digital mobile extension service for coffee sector which would help farmers increase production and improve quality. The Coffee Connect will gather all information relating to various coffee plantations in the country, such as geographical location, plant material, age, production and machinery available. The solution will help improve the efficiencies of field functionaries, particularly extension workers, in subsidy disbursement and real-time report generation. On the other hand, Coffee KrishiTharanga will provide customized information and services to coffee growers to increase productivity, profitability and environmental sustainability. Beside this, the Ministry also launched pilot projects on data analytics, artificial intelligence, and blockchain to address some of the perennial coffee production and farming issues such as rainfall, pests and diseases.

44.  The International Day of Charity (IDC) is observed every year on September 5 to raise awareness and provide a common platform for charity related activities all over the world for individuals, charitable, philanthropic and volunteer organizations for their own purposes on the local, national, regional and international level. The day also recognizes the efforts of charitable organizations and individuals. The date was chosen by United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in order to commemorate the anniversary of the passing away of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for work undertaken in the struggle to overcome poverty and distress, which also constitute a threat to peace.

45.  Justice Ranjan Gogoi, the son of former Assam chief minister Keshab Chandra Gogoi, will become the 46th Chief Justice of India (CJI), after the current CJI Dipak Misra retires on October 2. He will have tenure of 13 months – till November 17, 2019. As per convention, the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court has to be appointed as the next CJI. Therefore, once the recommendation by CJI Misra is approved, Justice Gogoi will become the first CJI from North-Eastern states. His appointment is crucial as it comes at a time when Assam is preparing to release a final National Register of Citizens (NRC), possibly by the end of the year 2018. Justice Gogoi was one of the four senior-most judges of the court who had called an unprecedented press conference this January, when they had publicly raised concerns about the administration of the court and the formation of benches for the allocation of important cases. He is also one of 11 judges in the Supreme Court who have disclosed their assets.

46.  The Indo-Kazakhstan joint Army exercise ‘KAZIND 2018’ will be conducted between the Indian and Kazakhstan Army from 10 to 23 Sep 2018 in Otar region, Kazakhstan. This is the 3rd joint military exercise between the two countries which have a history of extensive cooperation in the defense arena. The aim of the 14-days exercise is to build and promote bilateral Army to Army relations and exchange skills and experiences between Kazakhstan Army and the Indian Army. The exercise will also serve as a platform for exchange of drills and procedures. The conduct of the joint exercise will set the stage for greater defence cooperation and consequently will manifest in stronger ties between the two great nations.

47.  Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh from India has been unanimously re-elected as Regional Director of WHO South-East Asia for another 5-year term beginning February 2019. The elections were held at the ongoing 71st regional committee meeting of WHO South-East Asia in New Delhi. In her ongoing first term as Regional Director, four countries in the Region have eliminated measles and six have controlled rubella. The South-East Asia Region, which is certified polio free in 2014, continues to maintain this status. The maternal mortality rates in the Region have reduced by 69%. Among neglected tropical diseases, India eliminated yaws, Nepal eliminated trachoma, while Maldives, Sri Lanka and Thailand have eliminated lymphatic filariasis. Two countries – Maldives and Sri Lanka – have eliminated malaria. All countries are implementing national action plans to combat anti-microbial resistance. Dr Singh is the first woman to have been elected to the position of Regional Director for WHO South-East Asia Region after an illustrious career in the Indian civil service, World Bank and WHO.

48.  India has recently signed five pacts with Bulgaria in the fields of Civil Nuclear cooperation, Investment, Tourism, Science & Technology (S&T) and establishment of Hindi chair at Sofia University, after delegation level talks between President Ram Nath Kovind and his counterpart Rumen Radev. Both the countries have agreed to substantially upgrade their economic partnership in line with the depth of robust political relations. Mr. Kovind is in Bulgaria on the 2nd leg of his state visit to 3 European nations – Cyprus, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic – to continue India’s high-level engagements with European countries. After Cyprus, Bulgaria also supported India’s claims for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

49.  The Vice President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu will address the 2nd World Hindu Congress (WHC) 2018, which is scheduled to be held in Chicago, United States on September 7 to 9. Apart from addressing the congress, Mr. Naidu will also participate in a programme organized by 14 Telugu Associations of the US at Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago. He will also participate in bilateral discussions with several world leaders, who are attending this event, on the sidelines of this Congress. The WHC is a global platform for Hindus to connect, share ideas, inspire one another, and impact the common good. It offers Hindus an opportunity to introspect towards improvement and tap into their collective resources to seek tangible solutions to the most pressing issues of this age. The global event also marks the commemoration of 125th Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda’s Historic Speech at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in 1893.

50.  Bhagwatikumar Sharma (84), the renowned author and journalist, has passed away in Surat, Gujarat on September 5, 2018. Born in May 1934, Sharma authored novels, short stories, poetries, essays and articles during his 65-year career. Some of his famous Gujarati novels include ‘Aarti Ane Angara’ (1957), ‘Man Nahi Mane’ (1962), ‘Rikta’ (1968), ‘Vyaktamadhya’ (1970) and ‘Samaydvip’ (1974), among others. He received Ranjitram Suvarna Chandrak in 1984 and the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1988 for his novel ‘Asooryalok’. In 2017, the Gujarat Sahitya Akademi honoured him with the ‘Sahityaratna’ Award. He had also worked in different genres of poetry such as ghazal, geet and sonnet. His first ghazal collection, ‘Sambhav’, was published in 1974, followed by ‘Chhando Chhe Pandada Jenan’ (1987), ‘Nakhdarpan’ (1995), ‘Jhalhal’ (1995) and ‘Adhi Aksharnu Chomasu’ (2002), among many others.

51.  Turkey is hosting the 87th Izmir International tradeshow 2018 in Izmir from September 7th to 11th, in which India is the Partner Country. In this tradeshow, India will also launch a mega business pavilion ‘Source India’ to increase India’s exports to Turkey and other neighbouring countries. Owing to India’s participation as Focus Country status, India’s National Anthem will be played and the National Flag displayed on the screens put up in the show. Special signage will be erected to lead buyers and visitors to the ‘Source India’ pavilion. Source India, with 75 Indian participating companies, is a multi-product pavilion though some of the key potential areas for increasing trade with Turkey are ceramics, cereals and machinery or mechanical appliances.

52.  At the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games, Indian athlete Govindan Lakshamanan won bronze but was later stripped as he was disqualified for lane infringement. Though, Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore has recently rewarded Lakshamanan with Rs 10 lakh and acknowledged the long distance runner’s performance in the 10,000m race in which he was dramatically disqualified after finishing third. He had stepped off the track momentarily, as he was hit by the spike of another athlete. The Indian team protested against the disqualification at two levels but it was turned down.

53.  Recently, the Delta Force has celebrated its 25th Raising Day on September 6 in the memory of those who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty. It is the counter insurgency force of the Indian Army that has been instrumental in eliminating terrorism from the Chenab Valley and ushering peace in the region. Till date, the Force has been honoured with 1,380 Gallantry Awards including one Ashok Chakra, five Kirti Chakras and 46 Shaurya Chakras

54.  In the first round of the ‘two-plus-two dialogue’ in New Delhi, India and the United States signed military communications pact “COMCASA” , which will give India access to advanced new defence systems like armed drones and will enable the Indian armed forces to exploit existing US-origin platforms much more efficiently. COMCASA is an India-specific version of the Communication and Information on Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA). It comes into force immediately & is valid for a period 10 years. The term “COMCASA” stands for Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) and is one of the four foundational agreements that the U.S. signs with allies and close partners to facilitate interoperability between militaries and sale of high end technology. COMCASA allows India to procure transfer specialised equipment for encrypted communications for US origin military platforms like the C-17, C-130 and P-8Is.

55.  The 3-day Defence & Homeland Security Expo and Conference – 2018 has started in New Delhi to enable nation become self-reliant in Home Land Security (HLS) & defence sector. It is being organized for the first time to make leading policy makers and luminaries from diverse defence segments take part with special focus on MSMEs in defense production and procurement. It was inaugurated by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on September 6, which was organized by PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry in association with Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME). The expo is cutting across various industries vis-a-vis surveillance, cyber security, bulletproof jackets, robots, drones, hi-tech equipment including livelihood items, research and development and police modernization.

56.  Olympic bronze medalist Mary Kom has been appointed the new Brand Ambassador of state-run telecom firm Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) for two years. The two-year contract will see boxer Mary Kom endorse as well as engage in various promotional events organized by BSNL for its different telecom services. Beside this, BSNL has also signed pact with Indian Army to provide various telecom services like PRIs, basic telephone, and leased circuits, among others on a pan India basis for a period of 3 years. Besides these services, BSNL will also provide broadband and mobile services under another existing agreement with the Indian Army.

57.  In a landmark judgement on September 6, the Supreme Court of India (SCI) struck down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and decriminalized homosexuality. The five-judge Constitution Bench, led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra unanimously scrapped a 156-year old colonial-era law banning gay sex that was punishable by a jail sentence of up to 10 years. Thereby, this verdict is the beginning of a journey towards greater dignity, equality and liberty. However, the court held that Section 377 will apply to “unnatural” sexual acts like bestiality. Sexual acts without consent continue to be a crime under the Section. IPC Section 377 came into force in 1861 during the British rule of India (modelled on the Buggery Act of 1533) which criminalised sexual activities “against the order of nature”, including homosexual activities.

58.  Burt Reynolds (82), the veteran Hollywood actor, has passed away in Florida, United States on September 6, 2018. Reynolds received an Oscar nomination when he portrayed porn director Jack Horner in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights (1997) and was the No. 1 box-office attraction for a five-year stretch starting in the late 1970s. He was known for his work in 1970-80s films, ‘Deliverance’, ‘The Longest Yard’ and ‘Smokey and the Bandit’.

59.  Indian movie ‘Gold’ has created history by becoming the first Bollywood film ever to release in Saudi Arabia. The Reema Kagti-directed sports film ‘Gold’ is a fictional re-telling of India’s iconic win at the 1948 London Olympics. It stars Akshay Kumar, Mouni Roy, Kunal Kapoor, Vineet Kumar Singh, Amit Sadh, and Sunny Kaushal. This film is only the second movie after Rajnikanth’s social drama “Kala” to hit the theatres in the Gulf country. Saudi Arabia had held a private screening of international cultural phenomenon, “Black Panther” in May 2018 to herald the launch of movie theatres in the kingdom and opening them to the public.

60.  The Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Convention (MGISC-2018) will be organized by the Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation in New Delhi from September 29 to mark the beginning of the 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi. It will be a 4-day international conference that will bring together Sanitation Ministers and other leaders in WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) from around the world. The purpose of the Convention is to share sanitation success stories and lessons from the participating countries. It will culminate on October 2nd, Gandhi Jayanti, which is also celebrated as the Swachh Bharat Diwas. Several mass mobilisation events and campaigns are being planned across the States in the run up to this Day.

61.  India Blue has won the 57th edition of Duleep Trophy 2018 by defeating India Red in the final by an innings and 187 runs to win. Spinners Deepak Jagbir Hooda and Saurabh Kumar shared 5 wickets each in just 10.5 overs on the 4th day to bundle out India Red for 172 in the second innings. India Blue scored 541 in the first innings while India Red scored 182 in the first innings and 172 in the second innings. Himachal Pradesh batsman Nikhil Gangta was named man of the match for his superb knock of 136. The Duleep Trophy is a domestic first-class cricket competition played in India. It was named after Kumar Shri Duleepsinhji of Nawanagar, who played for England.

62.  India is hosting the 4th edition of World Summit on Accreditation (WOSA 2018) in New Delhi from September 7 with theme “Challenges and Opportunities in Outcome-Based Accreditation”. The focus of the 3-day summit is on challenges and opportunities in outcome-based accreditation. The WOSA 2018 will bring about new ideas and help in establishing new trends of identifying opportunities and challenges in professional education world-wide. The Summit is a biennial event organized by the National Board of Accreditation (NBA) which provides platform to its stakeholders to share their knowledge and information on accreditation.

63.  Indian sprinter Hima Das has been officially named as the Sports Ambassador of Assam for her recent achievements in the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games and IAAF World U-20 Championship 2018 at a function held at Srimanta Sankardev International Auditorium, Guwahati. Beside this, Chief Minister Sarbanand Sonowal handed over a cheque worth Rs 1.6 crore to Hima and also offered her a job in the senior category of Sports and Youth Welfare Department. He also announced to develop 500 village stadiums in the state. In recently concluded Asian Games, she set a national record by clocking 51.00 to qualify for the 400m final and bettered it with 50.79 to clinch silver. She went on to win silver in the mixed 4x400m relay and bagged gold in the women’s 4x400m relay. Apart from this, she has already scripted history by becoming the first Indian woman athlete to clinch a gold in a track event at the IAAF World U-20 Athletics Championships 2018 in Finland.

64.  The book “The Rule Breakers” has been authored by Preeti Shenoy i.e. expected to release on September 17. It’s an inspirational tale for those who find it difficult to stand up for what they want in life. The book claims to explore complex themes of women’s equality, gender and inclusion among others. The novel set in the 90s’ is the story of “smart and studious” Veda, who harbours big dreams but finds herself trapped in an arranged marriage and realizes that her opinions, her choices in real life do not matter. However, amidst the dark clouds of stagnation and despondency, Veda carves out what one can call the “unlikeliest of silver linings”. Shenoy has previously authored best-selling books like “A Hundred Little Flames” and “It’s all in the Planets”.

65.  Noted Odia poet Satrughna Pandav will be honoured with the prestigious 39th edition of the ‘Sarala Puraskar’ award 2018 for his poetry collection ‘Misra Dhrupad’. The award, which carries a cash prize of Rs 5,00,000 and a citation, will be presented to Pandav on October 26. The ‘Sarala Puraskar’ was instituted by eminent Odia industrialist late Dr Bansidhar Panda and late Ila Pnada in 1979 and awarded every year by the Indian Metals Public Charitable Trust (IMPaCT). Beside Pandav, two other eminent personalities of Odisha will also be honoured for their contribution in the field of music and art. Pandeet Umesh Chandra Kar will be awarded the ‘Ila Panda Sangeet Samman’ and Binod Moharana will receive the ‘Ila Panda Chitrakala Samman’. They will receive a cash award of Rs 1,50,000 each along with citations.

66.  Dr. Bibek Debroy, an Indian economist, indologist and author, has been conferred ‘Honoris Causa’ by the University of Engineering & Management (UEM) in Kolkata, West Bengal. He is currently serving as the Chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM). Mr. Debroy is also the Member of the NITI Aayog, the think tank of Government of India (GoI). ‘Honoris Causa is a degree awarded without examination as a mark of esteem.

67.  On September 6, the Odisha Assembly has passed a resolution for establishing Legislative Council ( Vidhan Parishad or second House of legislature). As per the resolution, the proposed Council will function similar to the Rajya Sabha in Parliament and will have 49 members. In every two years, one-third member of the Legislative Council will retire. Now, the resolution will be sent to the Centre for approval of Parliament to facilitate creation of the Legislative Council. And, then, President’s nod will be require for creation of a Legislative Council in Odisha. Under Article 169, a Legislative Council can be formed “if the Legislative Assembly of the State passes a resolution to that effect by a majority of the total membership of the Assembly and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of the Assembly present and voting”. Parliament can then pass a law to this effect. Currently, 7 states have Legislative Councils – Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, J&K, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana and UP.

68.  Akshay Kumar, the National Award-winning actor, has been made the first Honorary Ambassador of the Lal Bahadur Shastri Memorial Foundation. It is the social organisation founded by the family of India’s second Prime Minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri.

69.  The Chagos Archipelago (or Chagos Islands) is a group of 7 atolls consists of more than 60 individual tropical islands in the Indian Ocean about 500 km south of the Maldives archipelago. The sovereignty over the Islands is disputed between Mauritius and the United Kingdom (UK). Recently, it is in news because India has supported Mauritius in International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the issue of de-colonisation of the Chagos Archipelago, which is home to Diego Garcia — the key military base of the U.K. and the U.S. in the Indian Ocean. India told ICJ that the historical survey of facts indicates that the Chagos Archipelago throughout the pre- and post-colonial era has been part of the Mauritian territory. These islands came under the colonial administration of the UK as part of Mauritian territory. Of the 22 countries which are giving their legal opinion at ICJ, the UK is supported by the US, Australia and Israel, while Mauritius is being supported by 17 countries, including India.

70.  The 6th International Geriatric Orthopaedic Society of India Conference 2018 has been inaugurated by Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi on September 7. The purpose of the conference is to spread awareness about the health needs of the ageing population and to bring together everyone involved in geriatric orthopaedic care under one roof to interact and arrive at consensus on best practices. It’s theme is “Increased Longevity with Reduced Fragility and Enhanced Mobility”.

71.  The Bogibeel Bridge is a combined road and rail bridge over the Brahmaputra River in Assam, which is expected to complete at the end of 2018. Sited about 17 km downstream of Dibrugarh town, the 4.94km bridge will facilitate road and rail connectivity between the north and south banks of the Brahmaputra in the eastern part of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. The bridge is 32m above the water level of the Brahmaputra and is fashioned on a bridge that links Sweden and Denmark. It has three lane roads on top and double line rail below. Upon completion, Bogibeel will be the longest rail-cum-road bridge in India and 2nd longest bridge over the Brahmaputra after Dhola-Sadiya Bridge which is a road bridge of length 9.15 km.

72.  The Government of India (GoI) has constituted a committee, headed by former Reserve Bank of India governor Bimal Jalan, to select the next Chief Economic Advisor (CEA). Apart from Jalan, secretary of the department of personnel and training C Chandramouli and economic affairs secretary Subhash Chandra Garg will be members of the panel which will vet the applications received and conduct the interviews. Recently, Arvind Subramanian resigned from CEA post before his tenure ends in May 2019 citing personal reasons. He has since joined as a visiting professor at Harvard University. The CEA is under the direct charge of the Minister of Finance and is the ex-officio cadre controlling authority of the Indian Economic Service (IES).

73.  Nehal Chudasama from Mumbai has been crowned the Yamaha Fascino Miss Diva – Miss Universe India 2018 at a star-studded grand finale event in Mumbai. Now, she will represent at the 67th Miss Universe 2018 pageant, which is scheduled to be held in Bangkok, Thailand on 16th December 2018. At the same event, Aditi Hundia from Jaipur was crowned as Miss Diva – Supranational 2018 and Roshni Sheoran was crowned as Runner-up.

74.  In the US Open Tennis, Novak Djokovic of Serbia won the Men’s singles final by defeating Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina 6-3, 7-6, 6-3 in straight sets. It was Djokovic’s 14th Grand Slam title and the third US Open title. With this win, he has equalled Pete Sampras’s mark of 14 Grand Slams. He is now just three Slams behind Rafael Nadal and six back from the record 20 held by Roger Federer.

75.  The 12th edition of Aero India 2019 will be held in Bengaluru, Karnataka from February 20 to 24. This 5-day event will combine a major trade exhibition for the aerospace and defence industries with public air shows. Besides global leaders and big investors in aerospace industry, the show will also see participation by think-tanks from across the world. It will provide a unique opportunity for exchange of information, ideas and new developments in the aviation industry. Besides giving fillip to the domestic aviation industry it would further the cause of Make in India.

76.  The Regional Conference on Good Governance with Focus on Aspirational Districts has started in Bhopal on September 10. This Conference is an effort to create a common platform to share experiences in the formulation and implementation of Best Practices in Citizen Centric Governance and improved Public Service Delivery through e-Governance, transparent, accountable and citizen-friendly effective administration. It is organized by the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DAR&PG) in association with Government of Madhya Pradesh. The delegates from 12 States and 2 UTs are participating in the Conference. There will be 5 Technical sessions in the 2-day conference.

77.  The researchers at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Bhopal have developed cheaper and more flexible organic solar cells using a synthetic derivative of vitamin B12. An organic solar cell is made up of acceptor and donor materials. The donor absorbs light from solar radiation and the harvested energy is passed to the electrodes with the help of the acceptor. In the present study, the researchers synthesized the donor using an artificial aromatic chemical (corrole) which has a similar structure to the corrin ring in vitamin B12. The artificially synthesised corrole (Cor-BODIPY) absorbs light much like porphyrin in natural chlorophyll. Currently, corroles are used as sensors, catalysts and in biomedical imaging. This is the first study wherein a corrole has been utilised for a bulk heterojunction solar cell as a donor material.

78.  Naomi Osaka has become the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam singles title. She lifted the women’s singles title of US Open 2018 by defeating Serena Williams of US in straight sets 6-2, 6-4. The match saw some dramatic scenes at the Grand Slam final after an angry Serena Williams accused the umpire of being a “thief”. Williams was given a game penalty for her outburst, which also followed racquet smashing and another code violation as Osaka kept her focus to become the first Japanese to win a Grand Slam.

79.  Triple jumper Arpinder Singh has created history by becoming the first Indian to win a medal in the IAAF Continental Cup as he clinched a bronze with a modest effort of 16.59m at Ostrava in Czech Republic on September 9, 2018. Arpinder was representing the Asia-Pacific team in the meet, which held once every 4 years. No Indian has ever won a medal in the Continental Cup, which was known as the IAAF World Cup before 2010. In the same event, reigning Olympic and world champion Christian Taylor of the United States took the gold with a jump of 17.59m. The IAAF Continental Cup is being competed in 37 events in men and women sections taken together with two top athletes from the four regions of Europe, Americas, Africa and Asia-Pacific taking part in each of them. Earlier, Arpinder clinched gold in the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games.

80.  The International Literacy Day (ILD) is celebrated every year on 8 September to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies. The 2018 theme “Literacy and skills development” explores and highlights integrated approaches that simultaneously can support the development of literacy and skills, to ultimately improve people’s life and work and contribute to equitable and sustainable societies.

81.  The Indian Air Force has successfully carried out the first-ever mid-air refuelling of the indigenously build fighter aircraft Tejas MK 1 with an IL-78 MKI tanker of the 78 Sqn. The feat was achieved when 1,900 kg of fuel was transferred from the mid-air refuelling Russian-built tanker IL78 to the Tejas LSP8 at an altitude of 20,000 feet. The tanker aircraft was launched from Agra, while the fighter was launched from Gwalior. The specially modified Tejas aircraft carried out a series of test profiles including a ‘Dry Contact’ with the tanker. The IAF IL78, piloted by Wing Commander Siddarth Singh, accomplished the task with designers from HAL and Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) closely monitoring system parameters from the ground station at Gwalior. With this first trial, the aircraft gets much closer to the important battle-ready tag, called the FOC or the final operational clearance. Beside this, India has also joined an elite group of countries having air-to-air refuelling capacity for military planes.

82.  Software major Infosys has recently signed a 3-year partnership with the Australian Open as its official digital innovation partner. The partnership is about creating new ways of experiencing the Australian Open. As per agreement, Infosys will leverage its expertise in emerging technologies like Big Data and Analytics, Artificial Intelligence as well as Virtual and Augmented Reality, to provide unique, innovative and engaging experiences for fans. However, the financial details of the deal were, not disclosed. Tennis Australia is the governing body of tennis in Australia, promoting and facilitating participation the sport at all levels, as well as conducting national and international tournaments and events.

83.  The Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) in Bengaluru is set to become the first airport in Asia to use face recognition as the boarding procedure for passengers to board flights and move across different sections of the airport. For this, the agreement was signed between Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) & Portuguese software firm ‘Vision-Box’ in Lisbon to launch paperless biometric self-boarding technology. The first implementation milestone at Kempegowda will be completed in the first quarter of 2019, with Jet Airways, Air Asia and SpiceJet passengers as first users. The goal of the programme is to simplify the journey by making it paperless from registration to boarding. Biometric technology will identify passengers by their face as they move across the airport. The technology will avoid stops and the repeated presentation of boarding passes, passports or other physical identity documents.

84.  On September 11, the Haryana government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) to set up an ethanol plant in Panipat with an outlay of over Rs 900 crore. The initiative at village Bohali with a proposed capacity of 100 kilolitres of ethanol per day will manage crop residue and prevent straw burning before the upcoming paddy season. The state Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare department will motivate the farmers in the 50 km radius of the plant to provide crop residue or feedstock on regular basis as raw material. The pact will be valid for one year.

85.  The World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) is observed every year on September 10 to provide worldwide commitment and action to prevent suicides. It is estimated by the World Health Organization (WHO) that over 800,000 people die by suicide each year across the world – that means one person every 40 seconds. Thus, the day aims to open up the conversations and help those in the darkness. The 2018 theme “Working Together to Prevent Suicide” highlights the most essential ingredient for effective global suicide prevention- collaboration.

86.  The first-ever joint military exercise of BIMSTEC, named MILEX-18, has started at Aundh Military Station in Pune from September 10 to enhance cooperation in dealing with the challenge of terrorism in the region. The aim of the week-long anti-terror exercise is to boost inter-operability among the forces and exchanging best practices to contain terror related activities. The exercise will include training in search-and-cordon operations and handling and neutralisation of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) among other things. The militaries of BIMSTEC member nations barring Nepal are participating in the exercise. The BIMSTEC is a regional grouping comprising Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal. The grouping accounts for 22% of the global population & has a combined gross domestic product of USD 2.8 trillion.

87.  The Rajasthan government has decided to hold convention on preserving heritage properties & promoting heritage tourism in Bharatpur on September 13-14, 2018. Organised by the Indian Heritage Hotels Association (IHHA), the convention on ‘Revitalising India as a Heritage Destination’ will witness national and international experts speak on preservation of heritage buildings, museums and promoting lesser-known destinations. The convention will strive to preserve heritage properties from decay while promoting heritage tourism in the in-bound tourism market. It will also bring to the forefront ‘battlefield tourism’, which aims to recreate the grand battles of Rajasthan. Similarly, role of next generation heritage owners and spousal participation in property management will also be discussed.

88.  The 2018 Global Summit on Climate Action will be held at San Francisco in California, United States from September 12 to 14, 2018. The summit is a platform that brings together several decision makers and officials, as well as people, from around the world to discuss proposals for future action on climate change. It will serve as a starting point for broader and more effective global commitments, to reduce the impacts of climate change and achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement. It will also promote climate action in five key areas: Healthy Energy Systems, Inclusive Economic Growth, Sustainable Communities, Land and Ocean Stewardship and Transformative Climate Investments. The Summit will culminate in a call to action to nations to step up their ambition under the Paris Agreement, and cut emissions on a science-based trajectory that limits warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius.

89.  India and France have signed an implementation agreement on Mobilise Your City (MYC) programme in New Delhi on September 7. The aim of MYC is to support three pilot cities – Nagpur, Kochi and Ahmedabad – in their efforts to reduce their Green House Gas (GHG) emissions related to urban transport by implementing urban mobility plans at local level and to help India at national level to improve their sustainable transport policy. The MYC is part of an international initiative which is supported by the French and the German Governments and was launched at 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) meeting in December 2015. The details of the project activities will be worked out by AFD in consultation with Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (MoHUA) and the three partner cities including institutions such as the respective Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) for Smart Cities, the Municipal Corporations and any transport authority or transport related SPV.

90.  At the first-ever Women in Film and Television (WIFT-2018) India Award, Actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan has been honoured with the Meryl Streep Award for Excellence in Washington, United States. The award was established to honour the best female talent in Bollywood and Hollywood. WIFT India is part of WIFT International, a network which promotes professional development and achievement for women in the film industry, video, and other screen-based media.

91.  Prof. Vijay Shankar Vyas (87), the Padma Bhushan awardee and noted agricultural economist, has passed away in Jaipur, Rajasthan on September 12, 2018. He had held several prestigious, professional and leadership positions in national and international organisations. The economist was the director of the IIM Ahmedabad and the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) of Jaipur. He was also a senior advisor in the World Bank’s agriculture and rural development department. Beside this, Prof. Vyas also remained the vice president of the Rajasthan planning board.

92.  The Government of India (GoI) has set up a group of secretaries to look into the issues raised on some proposals of the draft e-commerce policy. The group will be chaired by Ramesh Abhishek, the secretary in the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP). The development comes at a time when the DIPP has effectively ruled out FDI in inventory based ecommerce models. As per draft e-commerce policy, any group company of an online retailer or marketplace may not be allowed to directly or indirectly influence the price or sale of products and services on its platform, a move that could completely restrict e-tailers from giving deep discounts. The draft has also suggested introduction of a pre-set timeframe for offering differential pricing or deep discounts by e-commerce players to customers. Further, the draft recommended 49% FDI in inventory-based business-to-customer e-commerce model. Currently, FDI in such businesses is prohibited and it is allowed only in the marketplace model.

93.  The India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) has partnered with Financial Software and Systems (FSS) to create payments network for unorganized retail. FSS is a payments technology company that enables micro-merchants to accept payments online, or via Unified Payments Interface (UPI), Quick-Response (QR) codes, Aadhaar and IPPB accounts. FSS will also provide merchant management and settlement solutions including on-boarding fee calculation, reconciliation and settlement. IPPB has been incorporated as a public sector company under the Department of Posts with 100% government equity and is governed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). IPPB offers a range of products such as savings and current accounts, money transfer, direct benefit transfer, bill and utility payments and enterprise and merchant payments. Customers are able to access these products and related services across various channels—counter services, micro-ATM, mobile banking app, text messages and phone calls.

94.  The 14th edition of the joint military exercise “Yudh Abhyas 2018” will be conducted between India and United States in the foothills of Himalayas at Chaubattia in Uttarakhand from September 16 to 29. The exercise will simulate a scenario where both nations will work together in counter insurgency and counter terrorism environment in mountainous terrain under United Nation charter. The two week exercise will witness participation of about 350 personnel of the US Army and similar strength of the Indian Army. It will witness a Division Headquarter based Command Post Exercise, an Infantry Battalion carrying out Field Training Exercise and discussions on issues of mutual interest by experts of both countries. The training will culminate with a final validation exercise in which troops of both countries will jointly carry out an operation against terrorists in a fictitious but realistic setting.

95.  Actor R Madhavan will host the National Geographic’s new series ‘Mega Icons’, which examines the success stories of five prominent personalities. It is scheduled to premier on September 24. The five-part television series will feature episodes on former Indian President APJ Abdul Kalam, movie star and politician Kamal Haasan, Nobel laureate the Dalai Lama, Indian cricketer Virat Kohli and the first woman Indian Police Service officer, Kiran Bedi. Each episode would be a journey into the life of an iconic personality, with help of not only intimate interviews with the icons and their families but also through research and analysis by experts.

96.  The Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) has recently re-commissioned an upgraded version of nuclear research reactor ‘Apsara-U’ with a higher capacity, which was shut down permanently in 2009 for revamp. The indigenously made reactor ‘Apsara-U’ uses plate type dispersion fuel elements made of Low Enriched Uranium (LEU). By virtue of higher neutron flux, this reactor will increase indigenous production or radio-isotopes for medical application by about 50% and would also be extensively used for research in nuclear physics, material science and radiation shielding. This development has re-emphasized the capability of Indian scientists and Engineers to build, complex facilities for health care, science education and research. Apsara was the Asia’s first research reactor that was made operational in Trombay campus of BARC on 4th August 1956. The design of the pool-type reactor using enriched uranium fuel was conceptualised in 1955 by Dr Homi Bhabha himself. The name ‘Apsara’ was coined by then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

97.  The Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has rolled out its ambitious project to deliver public services at the doorstep of residents. It’s first of kind service in the country for doorstep delivery of essential government services. From driving licences to marriage certificates, Delhiites can now apply for 40 government documents to be delivered at their homes for a fee of Rs. 50 per service. The applicant would have to call 1076 and fix an appointment with a mobile sahayak, who will go to their home and help with filling forms, payment of fees and collection of documents. The mobile sahayak would then submit the documents at the government office concerned, which would post the certificate or licence once issued. VFS Global, one of the biggest visa and passport service providers in the world, has been given the contract to run the project for three years. The number of services to be home-delivered would be increased to 100 within 3 months.

98.  NITI Aayog has collaborated with Intel and Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) to set up a Model International Center for Transformative Artificial Intelligence (ICTAI). The collaboration aims to bring together fundamental and applied research, innovation and technology development to solve important problems.The ICTAI will work towards developing and deploying artificial intelligence based research projects in critical domains such as health care, agriculture, smart cities and mobility. The initiative is part of NITI Aayog’s National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence discussion paper that focuses on establishing ICTAI through private sector collaboration.

99. The 13th edition of Indo-Mongolian joint military exercise “Nomadic Elephant 2018” has commenced at Mongolian Armed Forces (MAF) Five Hills Training Area in Ullanbaatar on September 10. During the 12 days long exercise, both sides will jointly train, plan and execute a series of well developed tactical drills for neutralisation of likely threats that may be encountered in urban warfare scenario. Experts from both sides will also hold detailed discussions to share their experience on varied topics for mutual benefits. Exercise Nomadic Elephant is an annual, bilateral exercise since 2006 which is designed to strengthen the partnership between Indian Army and Mongolian Armed Forces. The exercise will see them improve their tactical and technical skills in joint counter insurgency and counter terrorist operations in rural and urban scenario under United Nations mandate.

100.    On September 11, India, Iran and Afghanistan held their first tripartite meeting in Kabul during which implementation of the Chabahar port project and a host of other issues discussed. The Indian delegation was led by Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale while the Iranian team was headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi. Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai chaired the meeting. The meeting focused on consolidating economic cooperation, including Chabahar, as well as enhancing cooperation on counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics, and continuing support to the peace and reconciliation process that is led and owned by Afghanistan. As per officials, the three sides agreed to hold the next round of consultation in 2019 at an appropriate time in India.The Chabahar port is being considered a gateway to golden opportunities for trade by India, Iran and Afghanistan with central Asian countries besides ramping up trade among the three countries in the wake of Pakistan denying transit access to New Delhi.

101.    The National Rail and Transportation Institute (NRTI), which is India’s first railway university, has recently started operations in Vadodara, Gujarat. This institute is located in the National Academy of Indian Railway (NAIR) having about 55 acres of campus. It is India’s first university focused on transport-related education, multidisciplinary research and training. NRTI will offer multi-disciplinary programmes designed to cater to the needs of India’s transportation sector. The Institute will follow a demand-driven curriculum, while aligning with industry priorities. To ensure best-in-class of education, NRTI will follow a highly experiential and unique inter-disciplinary pedagogical approach, that incorporates the latest technologies such as live classrooms and online programs, and is delivered by high-quality faculty with global exposure. It is established as a deemed to be university under de-novo category. NRTI is a brainchild of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, currently offering its flagship undergraduate programmes in Transportation Technology and Management.

102. The Tamil Nadu government has banned the manufacture, sale (including online sale), distribution, trade, display, marketing, import and possession of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), which are popularly known as e-cigarettes, with an immediate effect in the state. The government order stated that it is a myth that e-cigarettes are less harmful than bidis and cigarettes. The ban advisory states that the use of e-cigarettes causes adverse health effects due to second-hand exposure to metals like nickel and chromium. These poses a risk to non-smokers and bystanders. E-cigarettes are also dangerous to children and non-smokers.

103 The second edition of the 10-day Nepal-China joint military exercise “Sagarmatha Friendship-2018” will be held at Chengdu, the capital of China’s southwestern Sichuan Province, from September 17. The aim of the exercise is to share expertise in disaster management and to fight terrorism, among others. This will reduce Nepal’s dependence on India and allow China to get a firm foothold in the sub-continental drama. This comes at a time when Nepal refuses to participate in the first-ever BIMSTEC military exercise “MILEX-18”, which has started in India from September 10.

104.    Veteran BJP leader L K Advani has been renominated as the chairman of the Lok Sabha Ethics Committee by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.The Committee examines complaints relating to unethical conduct by members of Parliament. It is also free to take up suo motu investigation into the matters relating to ethics and unethical conduct by a member, wherever necessary, and make such recommendations, as it may deem fit. P Karunakaran has also been renominated as chairman of the Committee on Absence of Members from the Sittings of the House. While, Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank will head the Committee on Government Assurances, it said. Chandrakant B Khaire was renominated as chairman of the Committee on Papers Laid on the Table, and Dilipkumar Mansukhlal Gandhi as the chairman of the Committee on Subordinate Legislation.

105.    Indian pacer Jhulan Goswami has become the first bowler in women’s cricket to pick 300 international wickets. She achieved this feet after reaching the landmark figure in India’s 9-wicket win over Sri Lanka on September 11. Earlier, Indian Cricketer Mithali Raj became the most capped player in the history of Women’s ODI cricket.

106.    Prof. Arul Chinnaiyan, an Indian-American scientist and professor at the University of Michigan, has been awarded an “Outstanding Investigator Award” along with a grant of $6.5 million by the U.S. National Cancer Institute to identify cancer biomarkers. The funding is aimed at identifying cancer biomarkers. The funding is aimed at identifying cancer biomarkers, which may improve diagnosis and help develop targeted therapies for the deadly disease. The award is designed to support the very best researchers who have a track record of innovation and success. The focus of Prof. Arul’s research is molecular profiling of cancer to discover novel diagnostic markers and therapeutic targets.

107.    The Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) has recently launched an indigenously designed and developed India’s first 205T Electric Drive Rear Dump Truck (Model BH205-E) in its Mysuru plant, with an objective of strengthening the ‘Make in India’ initiative. This new rear dump truck is expected to address the growing demand for higher capacity equipment in the mining industry. BH205E is powered by Tier -II emission compliant Modular Common Rail Electronic Engine with 2300 HP. The AC drive system has been engineered to provide exceptional haul road performance with reduced maintenance. The Dump Truck is environmental friendly in relation to mechanical drive due to its superior efficiency. The truck weighs 335 tonnes when fully loaded but it is easily manoeuvrable with power-steering and short turning radius. It has been developed for use in the project of Northern Coalfields Limited (NCL), Singrauli.

108.    As per culture study survey by US-based multi-national workforce management firm Kronos Incorporated, India leads the way as the world’s hardest working country with 69% of full-time employees are happy with 5-day workweek. Indians stated that they would work five days a week even if they had the option to work fewer days for the same pay. Mexico was the 2nd-highest at 43% of workers, followed by the US at 27%. The study found workers in the United Kingdom, France and Australia were least content with the standard five-day workweek. According to a survey If pay remained constant, one-third of global workers felt their ideal workweek would last four days (34%), while 20% said they would work 3 days a week. For this study, the survey was carried out amongst 2, 700 full and part-time employees living in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Mexico, the UK and the US. It was conducted by Future Workplace on behalf of Kronos Incorporated between July 31 to August 9, 2018. The study also found that in the matter of overtime, US leads the way with 49% clocking more than 40 hours each week. This was followed by India (44%), Mexico (40%) and Germany (38%).

109.    The book “The Twice-Born – Life and Death on the Ganges” has been authored by Aatish Taseer, who is son of late Pakistani politician Salman Taseer and Delhi journalist Tavleen Singh. The Twice-Born is a deeply individual and acutely perceptive book revolving around questions of culture and politics that are going to define our future as a nation. It is the remarkable account of a personal journey to understand today’s India, and truly a book for our times. He is the author of books like “Stranger to History”, “The Way Things Were”, “The Temple-Goers” and “Noon”. The book, published by HarperCollins India, will release on October 22.

110.    Goura Chandra Mohapatra (104), the veteran freedom fighter, educationist and social reformer, has passed away in Bhubaneswar, Odisha on September 11, 2018. He actively participated in the freedom movement and jailed during Quit India Movement in 1942. He dedicated his entire life for promotion of Gandhian values and for social upliftment. Mohapatra was the son of nationalist poet ‘Kantakabi’ Laxmikanta Mohapatra, who penned the famous song “Bande Utkal Janani”.

111.    India’s first tribal circuit tourism project under the Swadesh Darshan scheme has launched at Gangrel in Chhattisgarh on September 13. It covers 13 sites in Chhattisgarh which are Jashpur, Kunkuri, Mainpat, Kamleshpur, Maheshpur, Kurdar, Sarodadadar, Gangrel, Kondagaon, Nathiya Nawagaon, Jagdalpur, Chitrakoot and Tirthgarh. Under the tribal circuit theme of the scheme the Ministry of Tourism has sanctioned 4 projects to Nagaland, Telangana and Chhattisgarh for Rs. 380 crore. Major components sanctioned in the tribal circuit theme include eco log huts, craft haats, souvenir shops or kiosk, tourist reception and facilitation centres, open amphitheatre, tribal interpretation centres, workshop centres, tourist amenities centres, last mile connectivity, wayside amenities, viewpoints, nature trails, solar illuminations, signages and solid waste management among others. The Swadesh Darshan scheme was launched in 2014 -15 for development of thematic circuits in the country in a planned and prioritized manner.

112.    Veteran film writer Brij Katyal (86), who penned the story of Shashi Kapoor-Nanda hit “Jab Jab Phool Khile”, has passed away in Mumbai on September 13. One of the most accomplished writers of the film industry, Katyal also has writing credits to his name in many TV serials such as “Dillagi”, “Saans” and “Pal Chhin”, both directed by Neena Gupta. His stint in movies also includes “Ajooba” and “Yeh Raat Phir Na Aayegi”, among others.

113.    The 2018 G-20 trade and investment ministerial meeting was held at Mar del Plata in Argentina on September 12-13. From India, Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu participated in the meeting. Issues including increasing protectionism, challenges to promote global commerce and new industrial revolution were discussed. The meeting assumes significance as countries including the US has significantly raised customs duties on products including steel and aluminium. It has triggered a trade war kind of situation, which is impacting the global trade. The G20 members include India, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, EU, France, Gemaany, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, UK and the US.

114.    The National Hindi Divas (NHD) is celebrated every year on September 14 in India. On this day, in 1949, the Constituent Assembly of India had adopted Hindi written in Devanagari script as the official language of India under Article 343. In all, there are 22 Scheduled languages of India, of which, two are officially used at Union government of India level: Hindi and English.

115.    The Supreme Court has appointed a 3-member committee headed by D.K. Jain, a former judge of the court, to probe the harrowing arrest and alleged torture of former space scientist Nambi Narayanan in the ‘ISRO spy scandal’ that turned out to be fake. A 3-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India CJI) Dipak Misra also awarded Mr. Narayanan Rs. 50 lakh in compensation for the mental cruelty he suffered all these years. The committee will explore “ways and means” to bring justice to the former space scientist besides probing the officers who caused the “harrowing” incidents. The Centre would take care of the committee’s facilities and expenses.

116.    Under article 124 of the constitution, President Ram Nath Kovind has appointed Justice Ranjan Gogoi as the 46th Chief Justice of India (CJI). He will assume office after the current CJI Dipak Misra retires on October 2. He will have tenure of 13 months – till November 17, 2019. Currently, Justice Gogoi is heading the Bench monitoring the sensitive Assam National Register of Citizens (NRC) case. Thus, Justice Gogoi will become the first CJI from North-Eastern states. He is the son of former Assam chief minister Keshab Chandra Gogoi. Justice Gogoi was one of the four senior-most judges of the court who had called an unprecedented press conference this January, when they had publicly raised concerns about the administration of the court and the formation of benches for the allocation of important cases. He is also one of 11 judges in the Supreme Court who have disclosed their assets.

117.    Mehlli Gobhai (87), the veteran artist, has passed away in Mumbai on September 13,2018. He is considered one of the foremost abstractionist artists in India. His paintings record the dialogue between the spare line and burnished field. Gobhai was a student at the Royal College of Art in London and the Art Students League and the Pratt Graphic Centre in New York. He worked in New York for 20 years before returning to Mumbai in the 1980s. He was part of the advisory council at the Jehangir Nicholson Art Foundation at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sanghrahalaya in Mumbai.

118.    The agricultural festival of Nuakhai has started in Odisha on 13th September 2018. The word ‘nua’ means new and ‘khai’ means food, so the name means the farmers are in possession of the newly harvested rice. The festival is seen as a new ray of hope, held the day after the Ganesha Chaturthi festival. During this harvest festival of western Odisha, new produce Nabannis offered to presiding deities. After offering the Nabann, people relish different types of delicacies prepared from the newly harvested crop. The Nuakhai Juhar is a major ritual of the festival, during which greetings are exchanged with friends, relatives and well-wishers.

119.    Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Radha Mohan Singh has recently launched Dairy Processing & Infrastructure Development Fund (DIDF) in New Delhi with an outlay of Rs 10881 crore. The fund is implemented through National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) and National Cooperative Development Development Corporation (NCDC). It will benefit 95 lakh farmers in about 50 thousand villages. In it, many skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled workers will get employment, directly and indirectly. Additional milk processing capacity of 126 lakh litre per day, milk drying capacity of 210 MT per day, milk chilling capacity of 140 lakh litre per day shall be created. Under this scheme, milk cooperatives will be provided financial assistance of Rs 8004 crore in the form of a loan at 6.5% interest, which will be reimbursed over a period of 10 years. The government has also given a provision of interest subsidy on loans.

120.    The book “Bastar Dispatches: A Passage Through the Wilds” has been authored by Narendra, which explores lives of Bastar’s Abujhmad tribals. It provide a narrative of these people at peace with themselves and nature, their dialect, their festivities & their delightful interactions. The Bastar Dispatches brings out how forests and the wilds, humans and animals, distances, spaces and the skies, the known and unknown together make up societies and intimacies. Abujhmad stands today as one of the few mirrors left the world over wherein modernity can view itself – its calamities and collapses. The book is based on the author’s over 30 years of association with Abujhmad under a field research programme and its contiguous areas in the Bastar division of Chhattisgarh.

121.    India will hold its first-ever global tourism mart at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi from September 16-18. It is modelled on the ITB Berlin (Internationale Tourismus-B rse Berlin), the world’s largest tourism trade fair. The ten major tourist organisations like FHRAI, HAI, IATO are involved in this mega event. The purpose of the event is to create an annual global tourism mart for India in line with major international travel marts being held in countries across the world. Many tour operators who can’t attend the tourism mart abroad because of the expenses involved, will be able to meet the industry big wigs right here in the country. The mart will see the participation of around 225 international buyers from across the world such as North America, West Europe, East Asia, Latin America and others as well as an equal number of domestic stakeholders. After the event, the visitors will also be taken on familiarization tours of tourist sites of their choice sponsored by the respective state governments and ten such itineraries have already been chalked out.

122.    India has been ranked 130 among 189 countries in the latest Human Development Index (HDI) report 2018, which is released by the United Nations Development Programme. As per report, between 1990 and 2017, India’s HDI value saw a 50% increase from 0.427 to 0.640, an indicator of the country’s remarkable achievement in lifting millions of people out of poverty. During the period, India’s life expectancy at birth increased by nearly 11 years, with the average years of children staying in school increased by 4.7 years. India’s gross per capita income increased by a staggering 266.6% between 1990 and 2017. The HDI is a summary measure for assessing long-term progress in three basic dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, access to knowledge and a decent standard of living. Norway, Switzerland, Australia, Ireland and Germany led the ranking, while Niger, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Chad and Burundi have the lowest scores in the HDI’s measurement of national achievements in health, education and income.

123.    The first edition of the World Heritage Cuisine Summit and food festival will be held at the Qila Gobindgarh in Amritsar, Punjab from October 12-14. It will be organise by the World Cultural Culinary Heritage Committee, under the aegis of the World Association of Chefs’ Societies (World Chefs). The summit, hosted by the Indian Federation of Culinary Associations, will celebrate traditional cuisine with live demonstrations, food tasting, presentations, panel discussions, master classes by chefs from around the world in the holy city. It will focus on inculcating appreciation for food culture and traditions, good food habits and sustainable practices.

124.    The Delhi government has signed a “Friendship and Cooperation Agreement” with the Seoul Metropolitan Government under which the two cities would exchange expertise for betterment in 12 fields including environment, transport, tourism, solid waste management and public health. As per the MoU, the Delhi government will solicit support of its Urban Development Department and other departments for implementing all the relevant aspects of the agreement. It also requires the Delhi government to set up and operationalise a ‘Twinning Cell’ at the Urban Development Department and a committee to support the cell. Besides, it will support activity related workshops, conduct community participation activities, and maintain documentation. The ‘Twinning Agreement’ will remain in force till three years from September 14, 2018, and it could be amended by written agreement between the two parties.

125.    The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has commissioned indigenously built patrol vessel ‘Vijaya’ in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. It is capable of carrying limited pollution response equipment to contain oil spill in sea. The 98-metre Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV) was designed and built by Larsen & Toubro India at Kattupalli shipyard and is fitted with advanced navigation and communication equipment, sensors and machinery. The ship is designed to carry one twin engine helicopter and four high speed boats, including two inflatable boats for boarding, search and rescue, law enforcement and maritime patrol operations. The vessel is fitted with a 30 mm gun and will be fitted with a 12.7 mm gun with a Fire Control System (FCS). It will be based at Paradip Port, Odisha and be deployed in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) for surveillance and other duties.

126.    India’s first underwater robotic drone “EyeROV TUNA” was launched and handed over to Kochi-based DRDO lab “Naval Physical and Oceanographic Laboratory (NPOL)”. The drone can send real-time videos of ships and other underwater structures to help with their repair and maintenance. It will be used by NPOL for research and development activities which in turn would result in a commercial product for defence purposes. The robotic drone can be navigated up to a depth of 50 meters to take real-time HD video images to examine ship hulls or undersea cables or bridge moorings and can eliminate the need for costlier and riskier manual inspection by divers. The first commercial Remotedly Operated Vehicle (ROV)/underwater drone “EYEROVTUNA” was developed by EyeROV Technologies, a company incubating at the Kalamassery-based Maker Village which is said to be the largest hardware incubator in the country.

127.    The Rajasthan government has recently inaugurated the first lion safari of the state at Nahargarh Biological Park (NBP), which is located about 12 km from Jaipur on the Jaipur-Delhi highway. The visitors will be able to see lions in their natural habitat in the park spanning 38 hectares and enclosed by a fence. They will be taken on a nearly 4 km safari in a closed bus. Though, the Safari will be thrown open for the tourists from October 2018.

128.    The scientist at INMAS claim to have developed India’s first indigenous medical kit that may ensure protection from serious injuries and faster healing of wounds resulting from nuclear warfare or radioactive leakage. The medical kit has been developed for the armed, paramilitary and police forces only as they are the first ones likely to get exposed to radiation. It has over 25 items, including radio-protectors that provide 80-90% protection against radiation and nerve gas agents, bandages that absorb radiation as well as tablets and ointments. The kit also has an Ethylene Di-amine Tetra acetic acid (EDTA) injection that traps uranium in the guts and blood of victims during a nuclear accident or warfare. The kit also has Ca-EDTA Respiratory Fluid, which is the inhalation formula for chelation, or grabbing, of heavy metals and radioactive elements deposited in lungs through inhalation at nuclear accident sites. The medicine reduces the body burden of radioactivity by 30-40% in controlled conditions and is highly useful for the rescue teams and victims after a nuclear accident. The acronym “INMAS” stands for “Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences”.

129.    The International Day of Democracy is observed every year on September 15 to highlight the values of freedom and respect for human rights as essential elements of democracy. It is an opportunity to look for ways to invigorate democracy and seek answers to the systemic challenges it faces. This includes tackling economic and political inequalities, making democracies more inclusive by bringing the young and marginalized into the political system, and making democracies more innovative and responsive to emerging challenges such as migration and climate change. The 2018 theme is “Democracy under Strain: Solutions for a Changing World”.

130.    The National Engineer’s Day (NED) is celebrated every year on September 15 in India to appreciate the contributions of Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya, who was born on this day in 1861 in a village called Muddenahalli in Karnataka. He patented and installed an irrigation system with water floodgates at the Khadakvasla reservoir near Pune to raise the flood supply level of storage in the reservoir to the highest level. This was also installed at Gwalior’s Tigra Dam and Mysuru’s Krishnaraja Sagara (KRS) dam, the latter of which created one of the largest reservoirs in Asia at the time. According to the Institution of Engineers India (IEI), he was not only known for his contributions in the field of engineering but was also called the “precursor of economic planning in India”. The 2018 theme is “Engineering Challenges for Knowledge Era”.

131.    India’s first exclusive and certified ‘Dog Park’ has come up in Hyderabad, which is spread over 1.3 acres. The park has been developed by the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) at a cost of Rs. 1.1 crore on a site which was earlier a dump yard. The park has dog training and exercise equipment, splash pool, two lawns, an amphitheatre, loo café, separate enclosures for big and small dogs among other facilities. According to a survey, there are about 2.5 lakh pet owners in the West Zone and the Central Zone limits of the city which are nearer to the park. Public can bring in their pet dogs and use the facilities in the park. The park is certified by Kennel Club of India and would be inaugurated within 10 days.

132.    The Ministry of Tourism is organizing the festival of tourism “Paryatan Parv 2018” in collaboration with other Central Ministries, State Governments and Stakeholders at Rajpath Lawns in New Delhi from September 17 and will continue across the country till 27th of this month. The idea behind the festival is to draw focus on the benefits of tourism, showcasing the cultural diversity of the country and reinforcing the principle of Tourism for All. The 2nd edition of Paryatan Parv will have three main components- Dekho Apna Desh, Tourism for All and Tourism and Governance. The 18 theme-based pavilions have been set up by the states. More than three thousand events will be organized in collaboration with other Central Ministries and States during the festival. Crafts Bazaar, food court, classical dance music, handicrafts and handlooms and cuisines from all the states will be the main highlights of the Paryatan Parv.

133.    Recently, Indian Mountaineers Satyarup Siddhanta and Mousumi Khatua created history by climbing Asia’s highest volcanic peak Mount Damavand in Iran. The expedition team comprised of 3 members – Siddhanta, Mousumi and Bhaswati Chatterjee. According to a release, the trio left for Iran on 6th September 2018, the team had to scale the summit within a very short span of time to avoid the Sulphur exposure related hazards. Mountain Damavand is known for its Sulphur discharge near its peak which can cause irreparable damage if exposed for a longer duration. This is the 4th volcanic summit for Siddhanta. Now, he is targeting scaling three more volcanic peaks by January 2019. He is now in the last lap of climbing the highest volcanoes of each of the continents known as climbing the 7 volcanic summits. If successful, Siddhanta will be the youngest person to complete all the 7 volcanic summits – Mount Sidley, Mount Giluwe, Mount Damavand, Pico de Orizaba, Mount Elbrus, Mount Kilimanjaro and Ojos del Salado.

134.    Sawai Singh Shekhawat, the Jaipur-based poet and writer, will be honoured with Meera Puruskar by Rajasthan Sahitya Academy for his contribution to Hindi literature. The award function will be held in October 2018. He has published seven books of poetry and his first Rajasthani story “Koonpal” was translated in Hindi, Telugu & Dogari. He served as Editor for Bakhat and Rajasthan Vikas magazines.

135.    Moutaz Mousa Abdallah has been sworn-in as the new Prime Minister of Sudan at the presidential palace in Khartoum on September 15, 2018. Mousa Abdallah is also holding the finance portfolio in a bid to revive the country’s ailing economy. He succeeded Bakri Hassan Saleh, who will retain the post of first vice president. Sudan has been grappling with an acute foreign exchange shortage and inflation above 65% for several months, which prompted President Omar al-Bashir to sack the previous cabinet to fix the situation.

136.    On September 16, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has successfully launched the NovaSAR and S1-4 earth observation satellites of U.K from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) at Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle-C42 (PSLV) injected the satellites into orbit 17 minutes and 45 seconds after lift off and placed them in a sun synchronous orbit at a height of 583 km from the earth. The satellites, both weighing 889 kg, have been developed by UK-based Surrey Satellite Technologies Ltd (SSTL). NovaSAR is intended to be used for forest mapping, land use and ice cover monitoring, flood & disaster monitoring. On the other hand, S1-4 will be used for surveying resources, environment monitoring, urban management and disaster monitoring. The mission is a commercial arrangement between the company and Antrix Corporation Limited, which is the commercial wing of ISRO. This was the 44th flight of the PSLV and the 12th launch of a core-alone version of the PSLV.

137.    The Kerala Tourism has bagged two prestigious gold awards of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) for its innovative marketing campaigns at Langkawi, Malaysia during PATA Travel Mart 2018. The Kerala Tourism got the first gold for its ‘Yalla Kerala’ travel advertisement print media campaign in the Gulf countries. It showcased the state’s greenery and backwaters. The 2nd gold award came for an innovative poster that Kerala Tourism had developed for the 3rd edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB), the biggest contemporary art show in South Asia. The poster featured a colourful boat & fishermen and could be put up straight as well as upside down. The Campaign and Posters were developed and designed by Stark Communications, the Advertising Agency of Kerala Tourism. The PATA Awards are presented to outstanding entries in four principal categories: Marketing; Education and Training; Environment, and Heritage and Culture.

138.    Maldives national football team has lifted the 12th edition of men’s South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Cup at the Bangabandhu Stadium in Dhaka on September 15, 2018. In the final, they defeated defending champions India 2-1. The win for Maldives comes 10 years after their first SAFF Cup title in 2008. 7-time champions India had started as favourites in the summit clash. The Indian team, comprising mostly under-23 players, was the only unbeaten side in the tournament.

139.    ISRO chairman Dr. K Sivan has launched an S–band Polarimetry Doppler Weather Radar (DWR) at Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota spaceport, Andhra Pradesh on September 16, 2018. This Radar was indigenously developed by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), Bangalore under Technology Transfer from ISRO. This is the 7th Radar manufactured in the country under “Make in India” Concept. The Doppler Weather Radar (DWR) is used for the observation of the weather system up to a range of 500 km and helps in early warning of severe weather events. The DWR provides detailed information on a storm’s internal wind flow and structure, while conventional radars are able to track and predict cyclones. The polarimetric capability of the DWR will significantly improve the accuracy of rainfall estimation leading to accurate and timely flash flood warnings.

140.    Ganpatrao Andalka (83), the former Asian Games champion wrestler, has passed away in Pune, Maharashtra on September 17, 2018. Andalkar, who took part in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, had bagged the coveted “Hind Kesari” title in 1960. He also went on to clinch Gold and Silver medals in two different weight categories in the 1962 Jakarta Asian Games. He was also a recipient of the Arjuna award (1964) and the Maharashtra government’s ‘Shiv Chhatrapati Award’ in 1982 for his contribution to wrestling.

141.    India’s first ‘smart fence’ pilot project was launched by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh along the Indo-Pak border at the BSF Headquarters in Ploura, Jammu on September 18, 2018. The purpose of the project is to make security system more strong and effective.The smart fencing uses a number of devices for surveillance, communication and data storage. The pilot project entails deploying laser-activated fences and technology-enabled barriers to plug vulnerable gaps along frontiers. The system provides for round-the-clock surveillance on the border and in different weather conditions be it dust storm, fog or rain. The initiative is part of the Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS) proposed to be deployed at these two borders by the Government of India (GoI) as part of its decision to completely seal the two borders to stop infiltration and illegal migration.

142.    Dr. Subramanya Jaishankar, the former foreign secretary of India, has joined the board of the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF). Currently, he is the president of Global Corporate Affairs for the Tata Group. USISPF is a forum founded with the objective of promoting a strategic relationship between the US and India, and finding common ground on important issues facing businesses in both countries. The headquarters of USISPF is located at Washington.

143.    The Odisha government has launched a ‘Star-Rating’ system for industries to check air pollution. It’s a first-of-its-kind initiative in the state to ensure transparency in compliance to pollution standards. The initiative will help public find out whether industries in their vicinity are fair in their environmental compliance. It will also recognise the efforts of industries that take responsibility to maintain clean environment. The system will rate industries from 1 to 5 based on their efforts to meet the standards set by Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB). It will be implemented with the help of Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC India) researchers and Tata Centre for Development at Chicago (TCD) in a phased manner. The programme will cover 20 industrial plants initially and will eventually cover all the 136 plants with continuously monitored data.

144.    The Government of India (GoI) has proposed to merge state-owned Vijaya Bank, Dena Bank and Bank of Baroda (BoB) to create India’s third largest lender as parts of reforms in the public sector banking segment. The decision was taken at the meeting of a ministerial panel headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley which oversees merger proposals of state-owned banks. One of the reasons behind the choice of these banks was perhaps the fact that all three use the same core banking system—Finacle from Infosys—making the task of merging the technology platforms and back-ends relatively easier. Now, the boards of the three banks will consider the proposal. The combined lending entity will have a strong presence across the nation with more than 34% of low-cost deposits, a capital buffer of nearly 12% and a business book of Rs 14.82 lakh crore. Bank of Baroda is the biggest of the three with Rs 10.29 lakh crore of total business, followed by Vijaya Bank at Rs 2.79 lakh crore and Dena Bank at Rs 1.72 lakh crore.

145.    Germany has recently rolled out the world’s first hydrogen-powered trains that only emit steam and water. These bright blue Coradia iLint trains are built by French TGV-maker Alstom, which are costlier than diesel powered trains but eco-friendly. The new trains are equipped with a hydrogen tank and fuel cells on the roof and will produce electricity by combining water and hydrogen. The company revealed that the excess energy produced will be stored in ion-lithium batteries. The green trains can travel 600 miles (1,000km) on a single tank of hydrogen, similar to the range of diesel trains. The two Coradia iLint trains will replace conventional diesel engines on the 100 km route that links German towns- Cuxhaven and Buxtehude. Germany will introduce 14 other hydrogen train in the Lower Saxony region of the country by 2021.

146.    According to the ‘Credit Suisse Family 1000 in 2018’ report, India has been ranked third globally in terms of number of family-owned businesses with 111 companies having a total market capitalisation of $839 billion. Indian family-owned companies generated a 13.9% annual average share price return since 2006, compared to 6% recorded by their non-family-owned peers. The report is published by the Credit Suisse Research Institute (CSRI). The list is topped by China, followed by United States. As per report, in terms of number of family-owned businesses within the non-Japan Asian region, the list is dominated by China, India and Hong Kong. These three jurisdictions together account for around 65% of the non-Japan Asian section of CSRI’s database, and have a combined market capitalisation of $2.8 trillion (or 71%) of the market share.

147.    The third and final book of Vineet Bajpai’s Harappa trilogy “Kashi: Secret of the Black Temple” has recently launched in New Delhi. The book tells an intriguing story of a lost civilisation. The three books in the series combine mythology, history, fantasy, crime and the modern-day thriller element. The first two books are “Harappa: Curse of the Blood River” and “Pralay: The Great Deluge”. Bajpai is the founder and chairman of the Magnon Group, a digital and advertising agency.

148.    The first international maqom musical was held in Uzbekistan. The festival was initiated by President Shavkat Mirizoyev to promote the Uzbek national maqom art at home and abroad, and thereby highlight the heritage linked to classical Uzbek music. Maqom is the oriental system of music that is enhanced by string and percussion instruments across Asia and it is quite different from the classical Hindustani “Thaat” system

149.    The International Day for the preservation of the Ozone Layer is observed every year on September 16 to commemorate the date of signing of the Montreal Protocol in 1987 on substances that deplete the Ozone layer. It is mainly intended to spread awareness of the depletion of the Ozone Layer and search for solutions to preserve it. The 2018 theme ‘Keep Cool and Carry On: The Montreal Protocol’ is a motivational rallying call urging all of us to carry on with the exemplary work of protecting the ozone layer and the climate under the Montreal Protocol. The Ozone layer is a fragile shield of gas that protects the Earth from the harmful ultraviolet radiation of the sun and thus helps in preserving life on the planet. Substances like Chlorofluorocarbons, halons, Carbontetrachloride are responsible for ozone layer depletion.

150.    The 2nd edition of the Nepal-China joint military exercise “Mt Everest Friendship Exercise (or Sagarmatha Friendship-2018” has started at Chengdu, the capital of China’s southwestern Sichuan Province, from September 17. The aim of the 10-day exercise is to share expertise in disaster management and to fight terrorism, among others. This will reduce Nepal’s dependence on India and allow China to get a firmer foothold in the sub-continental drama. This comes at a time when Nepal refuses to participate in the first-ever BIMSTEC military exercise “MILEX-18”, which has started in India from September 10.

151.    Recently, the Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba has launched an online ‘e-Sahaj’ portal for grant of security clearance to businesses. The portal will facilitate an applicant to submit application online and also to view the status of his application from time to time. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is the nodal authority for granting security clearances in certain sensitive sectors before issue of licence/permit, permission, contract etc, to companies/ bidders/individuals by the administrative Ministry. The purpose of national security clearance is to evaluate potential security threats, including economic threats, and provide risk assessment before clearing investment and project proposals in key sectors.

152.    The West Bengal government has rolled out a scheme “Swayangsiddha” in different districts of the state to combat human trafficking. The aim of the scheme is to empower young boys and girls to make informed choices so that they are less vulnerable to trafficking and child marriage. Swayangsiddha, which means self-reliance, will be executed by the West Bengal Police. As the per the NCRB data West Bengal has highest recorded case of trafficking among the States.

153.    In New Delhi, the Government of India (GoI) along with Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has recently launched the Green Agriculture project that seeks to bring transformative change in the farm sector through conservation of biodiversity and forest landscapes. The $33.5 million project is being funded by Global Environment Facility (GEF) and implemented by GoI’s Agriculture and Environment ministries, and FAO.It will be implemented in five states viz. Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Odisha, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand. The aim of the project is to transform agricultural production to generate global environmental benefits by addressing biodiversity conservation, land degradation, climate change mitigation and sustainable forest management.

154.    On 2018 World Ozone Day (WOD), the Union Environment Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan released a draft India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP) and a booklet on ‘Montreal Protocol – India’s Success Story’. With this, India has become the world’s first country to develop such a document (ICAP), which addresses cooling requirement across sectors and lists out actions which can help reduce the cooling demand. This will help in reducing both direct and indirect emissions. The thrust of the ICAP is to look for synergies in actions for securing both environmental and socio-economic benefits. The overarching goal of ICAP is to provide sustainable cooling and thermal comfort for all while securing environmental and socio-economic benefits for the society. The Montreal Protocol is the only environmental treaty, which enjoys universal ratification of 197 UN numbers countries, to protect the stratospheric ozone layer by phasing out the production and consumption of ozone-depleting substances (ODS).

155.    Bollywood stars Varun Dhawan and Anushka Sharma have been signed as ambassadors of Skill India Campaign to promote and endorse the Skill India Mission. The actors will next be seen in “Sui Dhaaga – Made in India”, which highlights the untapped potential of India’s talented craftsmen and skilled workers at the grassroot level and the challenges and issues faced by them. Varun plays a tailor named Mauji and Anushka essays the role of his wife and embroiderer Mamta. The film, which is directed by Sharat Katariya, hit the theatres on September 28, 2018. The Skill India Mission was launched by PM Narendra Modi on July 2015 to train over 40 crore people in different skills by 2022. It includes various initiatives of the government like “National Skill Development Mission”, “National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship 2015”, “Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY)” and the “Skill Loan scheme”.

156.    ISRO has recently launched its first Space Technology Incubation Centre at the National Institute of Technology (NIT) Agartala via remote from Bengaluru. It was jointly launched by ISRO Chairman Dr. KV Sivan and Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb. The incubation centre was launched at the first edition of ‘Spacetronics’ organised by the India Electronics and Semiconductor Association (IESA). Through such incubation centres, ISRO is looking to incubate start-ups that would build applications; offer services and products that it can use internally and help them scale up so that these firms can exploit opportunities globally. Within the next 6 months, ISRO plans to set up five more space technology incubation centres at Jalandhar in Punjab, Bhubaneswar in Odisha, Nagpur in Maharashtra, Indore in Madhya Pradesh and Tiruchirapalli in Tamil Nadu. Each centre will be set up at a cost of Rs 2 crore, and will help the start-ups develop prototypes of components required for space technology, in partnership with the industry. ISRO will also provide the necessary mentorship and guidance to individuals and businesses at the incubation centres.

157.    The 5th edition of the Track Asia Cup cycling will be held at the Indira Gandhi Cycling Velodrome in New Delhi from September 21-23, 2018. This was recently announced by the Cycling Federation of India (CFI). The event also serves as a qualifying tournament for the World Cup, World Championship and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The tournament which is a UCI (International Cycle Union) class I accredited event will see participation from about 150 cyclists across from across Asia and Australia. India will field a 17-member team comprising senior and junior cyclists. The junior team will be led by Esow Alben, who is currently the top ranked individual in the Kierin event in the UCI world rankings. Esow had won three gold medals in the Asian Track Cycling Championship, the only male cyclist to achieve the feat in the event, held in Malaysia in February 2018.

158.    India has signed a financing loan agreement with the World Bank for $74 million for Uttarakhand Workforce Development Project (UKWDP). The purpose of the project is to improve the quality and relevance of training at priority Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) and to increase the number of labour-market-relevant workers through short-term training in Uttrakhand. The project has 3 components — improving the quality and relevance of ITI training; increasing the number of skilled workers certified under National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQE); and policy and institutional development and project management. The project has a 5-year grace period & a maturity of 17 years. The closing date for the project is June 2023.

159.    Anna Rajam Malhotra (91) was the India’s first woman IAS officer after Independence, who passed away in Mumbai, Maharashtra on September 17, 2018. Born in July 1927 in Kerala’s Ernakulam district, she joined the civil services in 1951 and had served in the Madras cadre under then CM C Rajagopalachari and in the central government. Besides serving under Rajagopalachari, she had worked closely with Rajiv Gandhi when he was in charge of the 1982 Asian Games in Delhi. She had also accompanied late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on many state trips. She married RN Malhotra, who had served as the Governor of RBI between 1985 and 1990. Anna, who retired in 1996, was also responsible for building the country’s first computerised port Nhavasheva in Mumbai. In 1989, she was honoured with the Padma Bhushan award.

160.    Kamlesh Nilkanth Vyas, the renowned nuclear scientist, has been appointed as the new Secretary of Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), and Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) till May 3, 2021. He succeeded Shekhar Basu. At present, Vyas is the Director of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Mumbai. The DAE is under the direct charge of the Prime Minister.

161.    Anushka Sharma has been bestowed with the prestigious Smita Patil Memorial Award 2018 at the 34th edition of Priyadarshni Academy’s Global Awards in a non-profit, socio-cultural and educational organization.

162.    On September 19, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved Revised Cost Estimate (RCE) of Dam rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP) at the revised cost of Rs 3466 crore with the financial assistance of the World Bank to improve safety and operational performance of 198 Dams. The project aims at comprehensive rehabilitation of 198 existing dam projects located in 7 states of India viz. Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand. It also aims to ensure safety of downstream population and property that are affected in the case of a dam failure or operational failure. Out of Rs.3,466 crore, Rs.2,628 crore will be funded by the World Bank and Rs.747 crore will be funded by DRIP States / Implementing Agencies (IAs) and balance Rs.91 crore to be funded by Central Water Commission (CWC). The CCEA also gave its ex-post facto approval for two-year time extension from 1st July, 2018 to 30th June, 2020.

163.    According to Mercom India Research, the total installed capacity of solar power generation of India has crossed 25 giga watts (GV). This includes both large-scale and rooftop solar. The utility-scale solar PV projects in India accounts for over 22.5 GW of installed capacity & the rooftop solar projects account for over 2.4 GW as of date. Karnataka is the top solar state of India followed by Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Rajasthan. Mercom India Research forecasts solar installations of approximately 8.3 GW in CY 2018. Out of this, over 5 GW of solar projects have been installed in the first half of the year. Installation rates are forecasted to decline in the second half due to lack of a strong project pipeline. The solar installations of approximately 8.3 GW in CY 2018. Out of this, over 5 GW of solar projects have been installed in the first half of the year. Installation rates are forecasted to decline in the second half due to lack of a strong project pipeline. The solar installations in 2019 are also expected to be flat as longer commissioning timeline will push approximately 1.3 GW of large-scale projects from 2019 to 2020.

164.    The joint air tactical exercise “Aviaindra-18” has started between Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Air Force of the Russian Federation at Lipetsk, Russia from September 17 to 28. The second session of Aviaindra 18 would be conducted in Jodhpur, India from December 10 Dec to 22. The aim of the exercise is focused towards anti-terrorist operations in a bi-lateral scenario. The exercise would further enhance the co-operation and understanding each other’s Concept of Operations. In addition to flying exercise, there would be formal interactions, discussions, exchange of ideas and friendly sports matches to enhance bonhomie between the two Air Forces. Exercise Aviaindra is an Air Force level exercise between India and the Russian Federation. First Aviaindra was conducted in 2014 and has been planned as a bi-annual exercise.

165.    India has decided to place four more reactors under the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards. Accordingly, two Russian-designed Pressurised Light Water Reactors and two Pressurised Heavy Reactors being built with Indian technology will be covered. With this, a total of 26 Indian nuclear facilities will be under the international nuclear energy watchdog IAEA. This was stated by Sekhar Basu, Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission and Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy, at the 62nd General Conference of IAEA Vienna, Austria, on 19th September 2018.

166.    The Odisha Assembly has recently passed a unanimous resolution to name the newly-built Jharsuguda airport after noted freedom fighter Veer Surendra Sai. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to inaugurate the airport on 22 September 2018. Earlier, in July 2018, the Centre had asked the State government naming of the airport is to be considered only after a resolution passed in the Odisha assembly. Jharsuguda airport will be the 2nd operational airport in Odisha after Biju Patnaik International airport in Bhubaneswar. Veer Surendra Sai, who was born on January 1809 in Sambalpur district of the State, had sacrificed his life fighting against British East India company. He and his associates resisted the British and successfully protected most parts of Western Odisha region for some time from the British rule. Many of them were hanged by the British & a few died in the Cellular Jail in the Andamans. Surendra Sai died in Asirgarh Jail on 23rd May 1884.

167.    All-women crew of INSV Tarini has bagged the prestigious Tenzing Norgay National Adventure award for beating the odds in water with their enduring skills and sailing across the world for 8 long months. The award ceremony will be held at Rashtrapati Bhawan on September 25. The award is the highest national recognition for outstanding achievements in the field of adventure on land, sea and air. The women Navy officers had spent as many as 194 at sea as part of a mission under the Navika Sagar Parikrama project that began in September 2017. The crew was also bestowed with Nav Sena Medal on the occasion of 72nd Independence Day. The team had arrived in Panaji, Goa on May 21 after successfully circumnavigating the globe for 8 months. They also set a record by becoming the first-ever all-women crew to complete circumnavigation. The INSV Tarini team, led by Lt. Commander Vartika Joshi, is comprised Lt. P. Swathi, Lt. Pratibha Jamwal, Lt. Vijaya Devi, Sub Lt. Payal Gupta and Lt. B Aishwarya.

168.    Dolagobinda Pradhan (93), the veteran freedom fighter and former Odisha Minister, has passed away in Bhubaneswar on September 17, 2018. Born on 7th June 1929 in Dihasahi of Cuttack, he was a follower of Mahatma Gandhi. Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals, he had left school in 1942 and joined the Quit India movement. In it, he got imprisoned by the then British government for 3 years and two months. Pradhan, who was elected to the state Assembly twice from Cuttack Sadar constituency in 1980 and 1990, was a minister from 1989 to 1990.

169.    In the latest round of reshuffle of Parliamentary panels, the former Union Minister Kalraj Mishra has been appointed new Chairman of the standing committee on Defence. He succeeded B.C. Khanduri, who has been delivering a series of critical reports on the defence preparedness and slammed the government for critical low stock of armaments. In the latest 2018 March report of Khanduri, it was pointed that 68% of equipment with the armed force was in the vintage category. Apart from this, Chintamani Malviya has been appointed new Chairman of Coal and Steel panel with another BJP MP from the same State, Chintamani Malviya. There are no changes in Finance Committee and External Affairs Committee, both headed by Congress leaders. Finance Committee is headed by Veerappa Moily. The External Affairs Committee is headed by Congress leader Shashi Tharoor.

170.    Anindo Majumdar, a 1985-batch IAS officer Arunachal Pradesh, Goa and Mizoram Union Territories or AGMUT cadre, has been appointed as the new Secretary of Central Vigilance Commission (CVC). Prior to this post, he was financial Commissioner of Delhi. Before coming to Delhi, he was the Chief Secretary of Andaman and Nicobar (A&N) Islands. The CVC is an apex governmental body created in 1964 to address governmental corruption. It has the status of an autonomous body, free of control from any executive authority, charged with monitoring all vigilance activity under the Central Government of India (GoI), advising various authorities in central Government organizations in planning, executing, reviewing and reforming their vigilance work.

171.    The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has signed a MoU with Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) to set up a state-of-the-art Integrated Control Room for Emergency Response (ICR-ER) Integrated Control Room for Emergency Response. ISRO will render its technical expertise for setting up of proposed ICR-ER whereas the project will be executed under overall supervision of MHA. The proposed Control Room is expected to be established in next one-and-a-half year. The ICR-ER will cater to the requirement of Disaster Management as well as Internal Security. ICR-ER will address the requirement of receipt of information on near real-time basis, strategic level monitoring, situation awareness, command and control, preparedness and response in the diverse internal security situation and disaster related emergencies. Resultantly, it will increase the operational effectiveness and will helpful in rendering timely response / assistance during various emergency situations.

172.    India’s first indigenously developed 500-megawatt (mw) prototype fast breeder reactor at Kalpakkam in Tamil Nadu is expected to achieve criticality in 2019. This was stated by Sekhar Basu, Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission and Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy, at the 62th General Conference of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, on 19th September 2018. The indigenously developed Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR)is now undergoing sodium commissioning. The reactor was designed by the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR).Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam (Bhavini), a public sector company under DAE, has been given the responsibility to build the fast breeder reactors in the country.

173.    Indian Cricket Captain Virat Kohli and world champion Weightlifter Mirabai Chanu will honoured with the prestigious 2018 Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna by President Ram Nath Kovind on 25th September 2018. Chanu was chosen for the prestigious award following her gold medal in 48-kilogram category at the World Championships in 2017. She also bagged the yellow metal in 2018 Commonwealth Games but did not compete at the Asian Games due to injury. Kohli, the world’s top-ranked batsman in both Tests and ODIs as per the ICC rankings, has been in stupendous form in the past three years. Star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra is among 20 sportspersons picked for the Arjuna Awards. The President will also present the Dronacharya and Dhyan Chand Awards on the same day.

174.    India and Sri Lanka have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for construction of a 5000-metric ton temperature controlled warehouse in Dambulla of Central Province. The warehouse will be constructed with an Indian grant assistance of 30 crore Sri Lankan rupees for fruits and vegetable to minimize its post-harvest losses. This initiative will benefit the farming community by reducing the wastage particularly in the peak season when there is surplus production. This project is in continuation of Government of India (GoI)’s efforts to partner with Government of Sri Lanka in people oriented development projects. India’s overall commitment of development assistance to Sri Lanka stands at a total of around 3 billion US dollars, out of which 550 million US dollars is pure grant assistance.

175.    The Indian Air Force (IAF) has proposed to the Andhra Pradesh government its plans to establish a drone manufacturing facility in Anantapur a cyber security centre in Amaravati, and turn Rajahmundry and Vijayawada airports into asset positioning bases. IAF also plans to set up a major helicopter training facility at Donakonda in Prakasam district. IAF currently has a base at Arakkonam near Chennai, while the Navy has INS Dega in Visakhapatnam.

176.    India’s first-ever online and centralised National Database on Sexual Offenders (NDSO) has been launched by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi on September 20, 2018. With this, India will become the 9th country in the world to maintain such a database. The database will have a record of the name, photographs, address, fingerprint and other details of convicted sexual offenders. It has information about 4.5 lakh sexual offenders. It is an initiative under the National Mission for Safety of Women. The database will be maintained by the National Crime Records Bureau under the Ministry of Home Affairs. The database will be made available to law enforcement agencies for various purposes including investigation and employee verification.

177.    Kondapalli Koteswaramma (96), the revolutionary communist leader, writer and feminist, has passed away in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh on September 19, 2018. Born in a prosperous family in Pamarru area of Krishna district in Andhra Pradesh, she grew up in a political environment. She had joined the Congress party when she was around 10 years old by placing her jewellery at the feet of Mahatma Gandhi when he visited Vijayawada, but was soon disenchanted with the party’s stand against freedom fighters Bhagat Singh and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. She was a widow of Kondapalli Seetharamaiah, the founder-member of People’s War Group (PWG). Koteswaramma had gone underground from 1946 for 5 years during the Telangana Armed struggle supported by communists against the Nizam rule. An enthusiastic reader from childhood, she had developed the love for the language and words. She had written four books, including her autobiography ‘Nirjana Varadhi’ at the age of 93 in 2012.

178.    The indigenously developed surface-to-surface Short-range tactical ballistic missile “Prahar” has been successfully flight tested by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) from complex-III of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur, Odisha. Fuelled by a solid propellant, Prahar is about 7.3 m long and can carry a payload of 200 kg. The missile has a strike range of 150 km & can be transported to anywhere within a short span of time. It is a quick-reaction, all-weather, all-terrain, highly accurate battlefield support tactical weapon system. It is equipped with a state-of-the-art navigation, guidance and electro-mechanical actuation systems with latest onboard computer. The missile is capable of carrying different types of warheads & will operate as battle field support system to the Indian Army. It has a greater manoeuvring capability, acceleration and can be deployed in different kinds of terrain making it more effective against strategic targets.

179.    India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) has tied up with private life insurer Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance Co Ltd (BALIC) to provide life insurance solutions, especially at the doorstep of every household in the country. With this partnership, IPPB customers across segments can access a wide array of simple yet value-rich life insurance products and services. Initially, simple term and Point of Sale (POS) products of BALIC will be sold through the IPPB. These products will first be available across IPPB’s network of 3250 access points, gradually expanding to 155,000 post offices across every village, town and district in India. BALIC is the first life insurer to partner with IPPB after the latter was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on on September 1, 2018.

180.    Dr. Raghupati Singhania, Chairman and MD of JK Tyre & Industries Ltd, has been conferred with the ‘Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle’, the highest honour accorded to non-nationals by the Government of Mexico at the 128th National Day of Mexico. The honor is given because of the efforts to strengthen bilateral ties between India and Mexico.

181.    Assamese movie “Village Rockstars” has been chosen to represent India in the Best Foreign Language category at the 91st Academy Awards 2019. The film, which is directed by Rima Das, also won the Best Feature film Award at the 65th National Film Awards. The film follows Dhunu, a girl who grows up in poverty and learns to fend for herself. However, that does not prevent her from following her dream of forming a rock band and owning a guitar someday.

182.    Saudi Arabia will be the third “strategic partner” of the $50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). It was announced after Prime Minister Imran Khan returned from his first foreign trip to the cash-rich kingdom. The CPEC is the flagship project of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which aimed at enhancing Beijing’s influence around the world through China-funded infrastructure projects. The CPEC aims to construct and upgrade the transportation network, energy projects, a deep-water port at Gwadar and special economic zones to eventually support Pakistan’s industrial development as a manufacturing hub by 2030.

183.    India’s biggest cyclotron facility “Cyclone-30” has become operational at the Kolkata-based Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre (VECC) under the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) for treatment of cancer. The facility produces a 30MeV beam that will be used to produce radioisotopes for medical imaging & diagnosis. The Cyclone-30 is in the first phase of production generating Flouro Deocyglucose (FDG), a radioisotope used for date imaging and oncological tissue imaging. It will be the first and only facility in the country to produce Germanium 68 isotopes, which is used in the diagnosis of breast cancer. Simultaneously, it will also produce Palladium 103 isotopes, which is used for the treatment of prostate cancer. The machine has a capacity of catering to 60 to 90 patients in a day. In its future stages, the machine will also work on the production of Iodine 123 isotopes, which can help detect thyroid cancer. The machine can also be used for research in the fields of material science and nuclear physics.

184.    Mayuri Lute has won India’s first Gold in the Women’s Junior 500 metres race at the 5th edition of the Track Asia Cup cycling tournament in New Delhi on September 21, 2018. Beside her, The Indian men’s junior team performed as expected in the team sprint event won gold by defeating Kazakhstan. With this, India won 3 Gold, 3Silver and a Bronze on the opening day of the tournament. The event at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium is being organized by the Cycling Federation of India (CFI) and has attracted participation from 12 countries.

185.    On September 22, President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated the centenary celebrations of the Dakshina Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha (DBHPS) in New Delhi. The mail goal of DBHPS is to improve Hindi literacy among the non-Hindi speaking people of South India. It was established in 1918 by Mahatma Gandhi, who held the post of president till his death. The headquarters of the organisation is located at Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

186.    The first-ever General Assembly of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) will be held at Delhi-NCR from 2nd October 2018. The 3-day Assembly will include an Inaugural Session, followed by the Assembly Session and Technical Sessions. The India and France-led ISA — international treaty-based alliance of 121 solar-rich nations — had become a legal entity in December 2017. Its aim is to undertake joint efforts to reduce the cost of finance and the cost of technology and mobilise more than US $1000 billion of investments by 2030 for massive deployment of solar energy across 121 potential member-countries. The founding Conference of the ISA was jointly hosted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron in New New Delhi on 11th March 2018.

187.    India has contributed US $1 million for the installation of solar panels on the roof of the imposing UN building at the world body’s headquarters in New York. The contribution will help reduce carbon footprint and promote sustainable energy. According to India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin, India is the first responder to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ call for climate action. This year, India was the global host for the 2018 World Environment Day (WED) celebrations. On 5th June 2018, during a session on WED, India had proposed to partner with the UN Secretariat to use renewable solar energy at the world body’s premises as part of the efforts to protect and preserve environment. In it, the Indian government announced its pledge to eliminate by 2022 all single use of plastics in India. It also committed to making a 500-metre area around 100 historic monuments, including the iconic Taj Mahal litter-free and free from plastic pollution through the Taj Declaration.

188.    Tran Dai Quang (61), the current President of Vietnam, has passed away in Hanoi on September 21, 2018. Quang was appointed to the role in April 2016. He is a former police general who presided over a crackdown on free speech in that one-party state. Originally from a small farming community 115 km south of Hanoi, Quang rose through party ranks to become a police general and member of Vietnam’s powerful decision-making Politburo. Vietnam has no paramount ruler and is officially led by the President, Prime Minister and Communist Party chief. The country has a power structure in which responsibilities at the top are split among a party chief; a president, who serves as head of state; and a prime minister, who runs the government.

189.    The 3rd edition of acclaimed International Business Conference ‘MahaBiz 2018’ will be held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) on 12th and 13th October 2018. MahaBiz is considered a bridge for business opportunities between Maharashtra state and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region. GCC is a political and economic alliance of six middle eastern countries. It includes Saudi Arabia , UAE , Kuwait , Oman , Bahrain and Qatar. MahaBiz 2018 proposes to bring together businesses, investors and key government decision makers on a common platform to share and discuss various opportunities in over 10 different industry sectors. The event will be attended by more than 400 delegates from India, Gulf countries and Africa.

190.    The Asian Para Games is a multi-sport event regulated by the Asian Paralympic Committee that held every four years after every Asian Games for athlete with physical disabilities. Japan will host the 5th edition of Asian Para Games in 2026 in Nagoya. The 4th Asian Para Games 2022 will be hosted by Hangzhou, China. The 3rd Asian Para Games- 2018 will be played in Jakarta, Indonesia from Oct 6-13.

191.    The Tamil Nadu government has announced a novel scheme for the protection of the exotic Neela kurinji (Strobilanthus kunthianus) plants that flower only once in 12 years. This came after the complaints of packaging and selling of these rare and ecologically unique flowers on commercial basis. The state department has warned that strict fines will be imposed in offenders. The Neela Kurinju is a shrub that is found in the shola forests of the Western Ghats. It is a major attraction to foreign & native tourists and one of the prime foreign exchange earners from tourism. The Kurinji plant belongs to the genus Strobilanthes, which was first scientifically described by Christian Gottfried Daniel Nees von Esenbeck in the 19th century. The Paliyan tribal people living in Tamil Nadu used it as a reference to calculate their age.

192.    The Government of Nepal has appointed former Member of Parliament and renowned Indian actress Jaya Prada as Goodwill Ambassador for tourism and culture for four years. Tourism is one of the important sources of employment and income generation in Nepal and India is the biggest source market for Nepal. As per officials, the appointment of Jaya Prada will strengthen age old cultural ties between the two countries and help in promoting Nepal’s tourism in India. The Govt. of Nepal has decided to observe the year 2020 as the ‘Visit Nepal Year’ with a target of at least two million international arrivals every year.

193.    Anil Kumar Chaudhary has been appointed the new chairman of the Steel Authority of India (SAIL) till his superannuation in December 2020. He succeeded P K Singh. Prior to this, Chaudhary has been serving as the Director (Finance) at SAIL. Beside him, PK Rath has been appointed as new CMD of the Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL). Rath is presently the Director (operations) in RINL. Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has also appointed V Gopi Suresh Kumar as Director (Projects) in RITES Limted, a railway consultancy firm.

194.    Nepal is set to become the world’s first country to double its tiger population. On the occasion of 2018 National Conservation Day (NCD), Nepal announced that there are now an estimated 235 wild tigers in the country, nearly doubling the baseline of around 121 tigers in 2009. According to a press release issued by WWF-Nepal, if these trends continue, Nepal could become the first country to double its national tiger population since the launch of ambitious TX2 goal at the St Petersburg Tiger Summit in 2010 to double the world’s wild tiger population by 2022. Nepal conducted its national tiger survey between November 2017 and April 2018 in the trans-boundary Terai Arc Landscape (TAL), a vast area of diverse ecosystems shared with India. The earlier tiger survey in 2013 had estimated the tiger population at 198.

195.    India has recently celebrated the 100 years of Battle of Haifa with a grand function in New Delhi on September 23, 2018. It is being commemorated in Israel, Delhi and Jaipur. On this day, in 1918, the Indian soldiers from the Mysore, Hyderabad and Jodhpur Lancers liberated the strategically important city of Haifa, known for its deep water bay in the eastern Mediterranean. The sacrifice made by the Indian soldiers is honoured and memorialized in 7 cemeteries across Israel, from Jerusalem to Haifa. Close to 900 Indian soldiers are buried in these cemeteries, which act as an immortal testimonial for their heroism. The Indian Army commemorates September 23 every year as Haifa Day to pay its respects to the two brave Indian Cavalry Regiments “Mysore and Jodhpur Lancers” that helped liberate the city following a dashing cavalry action by the 15th Imperial Service Cavalry Brigade.

196.    Kalpana Lajmi (64), the renowned filmmaker, has passed away in Mumbai, Maharashtra on September 23, 2018. She was the daughter of painter Lalita Lajmi and niece of filmmaker Guru Dutt. Lajmi was known for working on real subjects Her films were often woman-oriented like “Rudaali”, “Daman”, “Darmiyaan”. Her last movie as a director was “Chingaari” in 2006, based on a novel “The Prostitute and the Postman” by Bhupen Hazarika, who was her partner.

197.    The World Bank has approved an ambitious 5-year Country Partnership Framework (CPF) for India, which aligns with New Delhi’s objectives of high, sustainable and inclusive growth. The move is aimed at supporting India’s transition from a lowmiddle income to a high-middle income country by addressing some of its key development priorities such as resource efficient and inclusive growth, job creation and building its human capital. The framework is expected to receive $25-30 billion in financial support from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA).

198.    India will host the Women’s Boxing World Championships after more than a decade, which is scheduled to be held in New Delhi from November 15-24, 2018. The teams will have to be in the national capital by November 13, with the competition starting two days later. The marquee tournament was last held in India in 2006 and remains the best for the country in terms of performance. India had topped the medal tally with four gold, three silver and one bronze medal.

199.    On September 30, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has rolled out the Centre’s flagship Ayushman Bharat-National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM) from Ranchi, Jharkhand. The ambitious scheme aims to provide coverage of Rs 5 lakh per family annually. It will cover around 50 crore people and there is no cap on family size and age in the scheme ensuring that nobody is left out. Eligible people can avail the benefits in government and listed private hospitals. According to the latest Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) data, the scheme will target poor, deprived rural families and identified occupational category of urban workers’ families: 8.03 crore in rural and 2.33 crore in urban areas. The entitlement is being decided on the basis of deprivation criteria in the SECC database. The scheme will provide cashless and paperless access to services for the beneficiary at the point of service. In it, Telangana, Odisha, Delhi, Kerala and Punjab are not among the states which have opted for the scheme.

200.    The Jharkhand government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with National Insurance Company Ltd (NICL) to provide medical facilities to the people of the state under the Centre’s flagship health scheme – Ayushman Bharat Yojana. The scheme will cover 80% population of the state. Under the scheme, the beneficiaries will get health insurance of Rs 5 lakh per annum. The insurance company will pay up to Rs 1 lakh for treatment. For additional expenditure, the state government will pay through Jharkhand State Health Society. The beneficiaries are also entitled to get treatment in any listed hospital in the country. Under the scheme, payment of premium for 25 lakh families will be paid by the Centre and the state government in the ratio of 60:40. The state government alone will pay premium for the remaining 32 lakh families. Under the scheme, 1,350 types of diseases have been included.

201.    The New Development Bank (NDB) of the BRICS countries has approved a $525-million loan to Madhya The New Development Bank (NDB) of the BRICS countries has approved a $525-million loan to Madhya Pradesh for infrastructure projects. The loan will be used by the Indian government for on-lending to the Madhya Pradesh government for rehabilitating major district roads with a total length of about 2,000 km to improve the connectivity of the rural interior with the national and state highway networks. The project will improve the road conditions and enhance the transport capacity, which will lead to a less travel time, reduced vehicle-operating cost, reduced emissions and improved road safety. The NDB will also provide a $ 175-million loan to the Madhya Pradesh Bridges Project, under which 350 bridges will be built or upgraded. The NDB was set up by the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) nations to promote green and infrastructure projects in the member countries.

202.    Opposition leader Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has won the 2018 presidential election of Maldives. He will take office on 17th November 2018, after having defeated President Abdulla Yameen in the election. The Maldives is a key battleground in the rivalry between China and India. Solih’s win presents an opportunity for India to rebuild the traditionally strong ties between the two countries in order to counter China’s growing influence in the Indian Ocean region. The Maldives is made up of 26 coral atolls and 1,192 islands. More than 400,000 people live there but its future hangs in the balance due to climate change. Tourism is a vital part of its economy

203.    Andhra Pradesh has topped the charts among States in terms of “2018 Ease of Living Index” rankings launched by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA). Odisha and Madhya Pradesh bagged second and third best performing awards. The Ease of Living Index is a transformative initiative of the Ministry under AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation). The index seeks to assist cities in undertaking a 360-degree assessment of their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This initiative will encourage all cities to move towards an ‘outcome-based’ approach to urban planning and management and promote healthy competition among cities.

204.    The International Day of Peace is observed every year on 21 September to strengthen the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. Established in 1981 by unanimous United Nations resolution, Peace Day provides a globally shared date for all humanity to commit to Peace above all differences and to contribute to building a Culture of Peace. The 2018 theme “The Right to Peace – The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70” is celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

205.    Carolina Marin from Spain has won the women’s singles 2018 China Open badminton title. In the final, she defeated Chen Yufei in Changzhou, China. Earlier, in 2018, she won the BWF World Championships for the third time and became the first ever female badminton athlete to have achieved this feat. Apart from this, Indonesia’s Anthony Sinisuka Ginting beat Japan’s Kento Momota to take the 2018 Men’s singles China Open title.

206.    Recently, L&T Metro Rail Hyderabad Limited has commissioned a 16 km stretch of elevated metro & hence completed one full stretch of the three corridor Hyderabad Metro Rail (HMR) project. Now, the total stretch of Hyderabad metro will be 46 km. With this, it has become the 2nd largest operational metro rail network in India after the Delhi Metro. The HMR project is also the world’s largest Public-Private Partnership (PPP) project. The Government spent close to Rs. 3,000 crore for land acquisition, road widening and shift of utilities, while L&T Metro Rail Hyderabad (L&TMRH) invested more than Rs. 12,000 crore. The construction is underway in two other routes: Corridor Two – Jubilee Bus Station to Mahatma Gandhi Bus Station (Imlibun)/Falaknuma – 15 km and Corridor Three – Nagole to HiTec City/Raidurg – 28 km. Altogether 72 km of elevated metro line is being built in three dense traffic corridors of the capital

207.    The first-ever women-only foreign minister conference was held in Montreal, Canada on September 21-22, 2018 . The aim of the conference was to highlight women’s key role in politics and decision-making processes. The meeting was cochaired by Canada’s top diplomat Chrystia Freeland, and the foreign affairs representative of the EU, Federica Mogherini. The foreign ministers from almost 20 countries discussed topics including international security and peace, promoting and strengthening democracy and the elimination of gender-based violence. The conference is also being attended by female top diplomats from Andorra, Bulgaria, Costa Rica, Croatia, the Dominican Republic, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Kenya, Namibia, Norway, Panama, South Africa, Rwanda, Saint Lucia and Sweden.

208.    Dr. Shamsher Singh Bisht (71), the noted statehood agitator of Uttarakhand, has passed away in Almora on September 22, 2018. Apart from being actively involved in the Uttarakhand statehood movement, he struggled all his life to save the forests and rivers of the state. He was a prominent social activist and journalist who played a vital role in the famous Chipko Andolan. He led the ‘Nasha nahi rozgar do’ movement in the 1980s and spent 40 days in jail. Dr. Bisht was the president of the Uttarakhand Lok Sanghrash Vahini, an outfit that took up fight against social issues, including corruption and felling of trees.

209.    Israel has recently set October deadline to evacuate Khan al-Ahmar, a Bedouin village in West Bank. Regarding to this issue, the Israeli military has informed residents of West Bank hamlet that they have until October 1 to leave before their homes face demolition. The Khan al-Ahmar is located between the Israeli settlements of Ma’ale Adumim and Kfar Adumim. It consists of tin and wood shacks built on a desert hillside beside an Israeli highway that runs from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea. Israel plans to demolish the village and relocate its 180 Bedouins residents – who scrape a living by raising sheep and goats – to a site 12 away, near the Palestinian village of Abu Dis and adjacent to a landfill site. The move has drawn criticism from Palestinians and some European states, who cite the impact on the community and prospects for peace. Earlier this month, Israel’s Supreme Court rejected a final appeal against the slated demolition of Khan al-Ahmar.

210.    Luka Modric, who led Croatia to their first-ever FIFA World Cup final, was named The Best FIFA Men’s Player at the Best FIFA Football Awards in London. Modric won the Champions League for the third time in a row with his club “Real Madrid” in May 2018 before leading Croatia to the 2018 World Cup final, where they lost 4-2 to France. He is the first player other than Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi to win the FIFA award since Kaka in 2007. Beside Modric, Brazil and Orlando Pride forward Marta was named the FIFA women’s player of the year for the 6th time but the first time since 2010. France’s Didier Deschamps — whose side beat Modric’s Croatia 4-2 in the World Cup final — was named best men’s coach. Mohamed Salah won the Puskas award for the best goal for his effort against Everton in the Premier League at Anfield in December 2017.

211.    The United Nations (UN) has recently declared the period from 2019 to 2028 as the Nelson Mandela Decade of Peace at the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit in New York on 24 September 2018. UN has called for redoubling efforts to pursue international peace and security, development and human rights. This political declaration was unanimously adopted by nearly 100 nations from around the world to revive the values for which Nelson Mandela stood by emphasising human dignity. A statue of Nelson Mandela has been unveiled at the United Nations to honour the late South African leader’s 100th birth anniversary.

212.    The International Day of Sign Languages (IDSL) is observed every year on September 23 along with International Week of the Deaf. It highlights the importance of sign language in the full realization of the human rights of people who are deaf. It is the first ever IDSL, which was officially adopted at the 72nd United Nations General Assembly in December 2017. The 2018 theme “With Sign Language, Everyone is Included!” recognizes the importance of preserving sign languages as part of linguistic and cultural diversity. It also emphasizes the principle of “nothing about us without us” in terms of working with deaf communities.

213.    The IIT Kharagpur has developed a community supported supply of purified drinking water project at Porapara in West Midnapore district of West Bengal. Dr Somnath Ghosal of the Rural Development Centre of IIT KGP has installed a fullyautomated multi-filtered UV treated drinking water facility which can provide close to 1000 litres of purified drinking water to 60 families every day at Rs one per family. The land was freely provided by a villager & on it, IIT KGP build the infrastructure and funded the entire project. The entire operation of the unit, its upkeep and daily management, are being done by the villagers who have formed 3 committees to manage the operations. It is an “install and self-operate” arrangement in which the current and future financial needs are to be met by the villagers from the fund collected in the form of the daily payment for water. Dr. Ghosal has recently filed for a patent for the technology used in Porapara.

214.    The Supreme Court of India (SCI) has recently constituted a Committee on Prison Reforms chaired by former apex court judge, Justice Amitava Roy, to examine the various problems plaguing prisons in the country. The committee has been asked to recommend steps for the psycho-social well-being of minor children of women prisoners, including their education and health. It would also probe the reasons for violence in prisons and correctional homes and recommend measures to prevent unnatural deaths and assess the availability of medical facilities in prisons and correctional homes and make recommendations. It would assess the availability and inadequacy of staff in prisons and correctional homes, suggest training and educational modules for the staff and assess the feasibility of establishing open prisons. The court asked the committee to complete the collection of data and information and make submit it in a year.

215.    India has been ranked 158th among 195 countries in 2016 for investment in health care and education, according to the first-ever scientific study by University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME). The study, which is published in the international medical journal The Lancet, ranked countries for their levels of human capital. It highlighted that when a country’s human capital score increases, its economy grows. The Lancet stated that India’s ranking of 158th in 2016 represents an improvement from its 1990 ranking of 162nd. It showed that India is falling behind in terms of health and education of its workforce, which could potentially have long-term negative effects on the Indian economy. The study is based on analysis of data from sources, including government agencies, schools & health care systems. The study claims that these rankings give us an idea about the number of years a worker can be expected to work at peak productivity levels between the ages of 20 and 64 years.

216.    The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has signed a cooperation agreement with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to support the humanitarian response plan in Yemen, Myanmar and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), in addition to support ICRC’s budget, totaling $11 million. Under the agreement, the UAE will provide the ICRC with $6 million to support health centres, water and sanitation facilities in Yemen, $1 million to support the Organisation’s humanitarian efforts in Myanmar, $1 million to support humanitarian efforts in DRC, in addition to $3 million to support general programmes. The agreement also includes support to health centres, water and rehabilitation of sanitation structures and meeting basic needs of those affected, as well as assisting disabled persons through the provision of physical rehabilitation services. The UAE is a member of the donor support group of the ICRC.

217.    The United Arab Emirates (UAE) will host the Interfaith Alliance Forum at the nation’s capital, Abu Dhabi on 19th and 20th November. The forum aims to address and discuss social challenges and to strengthen efforts by religious leaders to formulate cohesive ideas that enhance the protection of the young individuals from extortion and crime via the internet. The Interfaith Alliance Forum will coincide with World Children’s Day (WCD), which is celebrated on 20th November. The forum will highlight the importance of unifying views among religions and cultures to ensure the protection of children. An estimated 450 religious leaders and spiritual advisors are expected to participate in the Forum, which will be a platform for promotion of humanitarian values and spreading the principles of tolerance and religious co-existence.

218.    In Nepal, the famous Indra Jatra festival 2018 is being celebrated in Kathmandu with gaiety and religious fervor. The 8-day long annual festival is observed to worship Indra, the lord of rain and good harvest. It also marks end of monsoon and beginning of harvest season and festivity. The chariot procession and mask dances are the main attraction of Indra Jatra. On fourth day of festival the chariot procession of living Goddess Kumari, Lord Ganesha and Lord Bhairav began from historic Basantapur Durbar Square on Monday. Nepal’s living Goddess Trishna Shakya made her first public appearance after she was appointed in September 2016. President Bidya Devi Bhandari and thousands of people attended the Jatra celebrations.

219.    Dr Harsh Vardhan, the union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate change (MoEF&CC), has inaugurated air pollution control device – Wind Augmentation Purifying Unit (WAYU) at ITO in New Delhi. WAYU is developed by Council of Scientific and Industrial Research –National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (CSIR-NEERI) to mitigate air pollution at traffic junctions. The prototype device has the capacity to purify air in an area of 500 meter square. It consumes only half a unit of electricity for 10 hours of running and has a maintenance cost of only Rs. 1500 per month. Along with particulate matter, the device will remove poisonous gases such as volatile organic compounds and carbon monoxide. This device works on two principles mainly wind generation for dilution of air pollutants and active pollutants removal.

220.    India will organise ‘Gandhi March’ from the iconic Peace Palace at the Hague in Netherlands to Grote Kerk on September 25 to launch the two-year long celebrations of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. According to a statement issued by the Indian Embassy in Hague, the ‘Gandhi March’ will see participation of people of all nationalities and around 20 ambassadors of different countries. On the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti on October 2, marked as International Day of NonViolence, five other events will be held in The Hague, Amsterdam, Utrecht and Zoetermeer. The Netherlands has a special connection to India and Mahatma Gandhi. There are around thirty streets in the country named after Mahatma Gandhi.

221.    Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been awarded with the UN’s highest environmental honour ‘Champions of the Earth 2018’ for his leadership of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and pledge to eliminate single use plastic in India by 2022. The other winners of the 2018 award include indigenous activist Joan Carling, Food company Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, which develops plantbased substitutes for meat and dairy products, and China’s Zhejiang’s Green Rural Revival Programme. Beside this, Cochin International Airport has also been honoured with the 2018 award for Entrepreneurial Vision for its leadership in the use of sustainable energy. The awards will be presented during the Champions of the Earth Gala in New York City, on the sidelines of the 73rd UN General Assembly (UNGA).

222.    The Japanese space agency JAXA has made history by successfully landing two robotic rovers on the surface of an asteroid Ryugu. The rovers are collectively known as MINERVA-II1 (MIcro Nano Experimental Robot Vehicle for Asteroid, the second generation), which were separated from the Hayabusa2 spacecraft on 21st September 2018 . The space agency reported that the small compact MINERVA-II1 is the world’s first mobile exploration robot to land on the surface of an asteroid. This is also the first time for autonomous movement and picture capture on an asteroid surface. Therefore, MINERVA-II1 is the world’s first man-made object to explore movement on an asteroid surface. Asteroids are believed to have rich information about the formation of the solar system billions of years ago. The third rover called MASCOT will be launched from Hayabusa2 in early October 2018. If successful, MASCOT will be the world’s first sample return mission to a C-type asteroid.

223.    On September 26, Vice president M. Venkaiah Naidu inaugurated Smart City Expo India-2018 in Jaipur, Rajasthan. The purpose of 3-days expo is to have discussions among different experts and groups to utilize benefits of new technology, town planning, capacity management, challenges before socio-economic development and development of networking in the Smart City sector. Near about 6000 delegates from MNC’s of different countries, researchers, CEO’s of different Smart cities, Mayors and corporates are participating in the expo.

224.    India has made alliance with United States in public and private sectors to combat the menace of Tuberculosis (TB). The formation of ‘USAID-India End TB Alliance’ was formally announced by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) administrator Mark Green in presence of Union Health Minister J P Nadda in New York on September 26, 2018. The experts in the alliance will offer innovative approaches to combat tuberculosis in India. Alliance members include industry and civil society leaders, academics, scientists, innovators, investors, and members of the diaspora.

225.    On September 26, the Supreme Court of India (SCI) declared the Centre’s flagship Aadhaar scheme as constitutionally valid for filing of IT returns and allotment of Permanent Account Number (PAN), but struck down some of its provisions including its linking with bank accounts, mobile phones and school admissions. A 5- judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra held that Aadhaar would not be mandatory to link with bank accounts and telecom service providers cannot seek its linking for mobile connections. The CBSE, NEET, UGC cannot make Aadhaar mandatory and it is not compulsory for school admissions. The bench struck down the national security exception under the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act. The bench also struck down Section 57 of Aadhaar Act permitting private entities to avail Aadhaar data and ruled that Aadhaar authentication data cannot be stored for more than six months. It directed the government not to give Aadhaar to illegal immigrants.

226.    The 2nd Global RE-INVEST India-ISA Partnership 2018 will be held in New Delhi from October 3rd to 5th. Over 150 speakers including 55 international speakers from 15 countries and will take part in it. In it, 15 Indian states will also participate. The 2nd Global RE-INVEST will also host the First Assembly of International Solar Alliance (ISA). As per the Paris Accord on Climate Change (PACC), India made a pledge that by 2030, 40% of the installed power generation capacity should be based on fossil fuel based sources. It is determined that 175 GW of renewable energy capacity will be installed by 2022. India today is the world’s largest clean energy market, with exponentially increasing demand and supply and proactive policy support, including 100% foreign investment in renewable energy development. The different sessions of the Re-Invest will be held at India-Expo Mart at Greater Noida.

227.    For the first time, the Defence Ministry has appointed a transaction adviser and a legal adviser for procurement projects under the Strategic Partnership (SP) model. SBI Caps [Capital Markets] has been appointed as the transaction adviser. The first task for the advisers will be to work on the Expression of Interest for the Naval Utility Helicopters. Under the SP model, Indian private companies will get to tie up with global Original Equipment Manufacturers and build major defence platforms in India under technology transfer.

228.    The Union Cabinet has approved the National Digital Communication Policy (NDCP) 2018 which aims to provide universal broadband connectivity at 50 megabit per second (MBPS) to every citizen. It will also provide one Gbps connectivity to all Gram Panchayats by 2020 and 10 Gbps by 2022. This estimated speed is much faster than the present speed being provided to Gram Panchayats and will enable fast Internet surfing and download of data. It aims to attract $100 billion investment and create 4 million jobs in the sector by 2022 in the digital communication sector. This will also ensure connectivity to all uncovered areas. The policy advocates establishment of National Digital Grid by creating a National Fibre Authority.

229.    The World Tourism Day (WTD) is observed every year on September 27 to raise awareness among the international community of the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic value. The 2018 theme is “Tourism and the Digital Transformation”. The 2018 WTD is a unique opportunity to raise awareness on the potential contribution of digital technologies to sustainable tourism development, while providing a platform for investment, partnerships and collaboration towards a more responsible and inclusive tourism sector.

230.    India has become the first and only SAARC country to have a quit-line number on tobacco products. The Union Health Ministry has already made 85% pictorial health warning mandatory on both sides of packets containing cigarettes, bidis, and chewing tobacco. The quit-line number will be printed on all tobacco products manufactured after September 1, 2018. For smoking and smokeless forms of tobacco products, the words ‘Tobacco causes cancer’ and ‘Tobacco causes painful death’ shall appear in white font on a red background and the words ‘Quit today call — 1800-11-2356’ shall appear in white font on a black background. India is the 4th country in Asia after Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore to have this government helpline for those looking at quitting tobacco. At least 46 countries have quit-line numbers as part of health warning labels on tobacco product packaging.

231.    The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $150 million loan to establish India’s first multi-skills park in Bhopal. As per ADB, the skills gap in Madhya Pradesh is expected to increase in the next 6 years, with an incremental demand for skilled workers projected to hit 5.6 million in 2024. This new flagship Global Skills Park (GSP) is to be equipped with international training facilities to enhance the quality of Madhya Pradesh’s Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) system. It will create a more skilled workforce that meets the labour market needs of the state. The GSP campus, which will serve as the state’s central hub for other TVET institutes, will have training facilities focusing on skills for manufacturing, service, and advanced agricultural jobs, benefitting about 20,000 trainees and trainers.

232.    For the first time in India’s strategic atomic energy sector, the transfer of power at the highest level took place in a foreign country. Kamlesh Nilakanth Vyas, the newly-appointed Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) took charge from incumbent Sekhar Basu in Vienna, Austria on September 20, 2018. Vyas is also the Secretary to the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE). Both the top DAE officials were attending the 62nd General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) meeting, which was held from September 17-21 at the Agency headquarters in the Austrian capital. As per the notification, Vyas’ term will continue till he attains the age of 64 or up to May 3, 2021. He is the 12th Chairman of the Department created by Homi J Bhabha, the first Chairman, in 1954.

233.    The Andhra Pradesh Economic Development Board (APEDB) has recently signed pact with Triton Solar Company of the USA to set up a solar battery manufacturing plant in AP under the public-private-partnership (PPP) model. The plant helps in switching over to electrical vehicles and secures 200 Megawatt of solar power storage supply to meet the state’s energy needs. With an investment of Rs 727 crore, the proposed solar battery manufacturing plant will come up in phases & will produce batteries based on nano and lithium polymer technology

234.    Project UNNATI is an initiative by the Ministry of Shipping. It aims to enhance the operational and financial performance of the 12 major ports with selected Indian private ports and best-in-class international ports. Under Project UNNATI 116 initiatives have been identified for various major ports

235.    On September 27, the National Tourism Awards for 2016-17 were presented by Union Tourism Minister K J Alphons in New Delhi as India celebrated the 2018 World Tourism Day (WTD). Ahmedabad and Mandu were jointly declared as the ‘Best Heritage City’, while Qutub Minar bagged the top award in the differentlyabled friendly monument category. In it, Gujarat won three major National Tourism Awards for the Best Civic Management (at Saputara Hill Station), Best Heritage City and the Best Airport-Ahmedabad. The awards were given in various segments of the travel, tourism and hospitality industry. Andhra Pradesh bagged the first prize in state category for comprehensive development of tourism and Rajasthan Tourism bagged the national award for most innovative use of Information Technology, social media and websites. Ahmedabad had been declared India’s first World Heritage City by UNESCO in 2017.

236.    On September 27, the joint border conference was held between India and Bangladesh at Aizawl, Mizoram and delegates from both sides expressed their deliberations on the border issues between the two countries. The conference led to a vital discussion on the need for demarcation of the border between the two countries along Mizoram. From the Indian counterpart, Survey of India Director Sanjay Kumar headed the Indian delegation.

237.    For the first time, the Kerala government has decided to create the post of ‘firewomen’ in the Kerala State Fire and Rescue Services in a bid to break gender stereotypes. The purpose of this novel initiative is to ensure gender equality & to enhance the participation of women in various sectors.

238.    The International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons is observed every year on September 26 to provide an opportunity to educate the public – and their leaders – about the real benefits of eliminating such weapons, and the social and economic costs of perpetuating them. The day provides an occasion for the world community to reaffirm its commitment to global nuclear disarmament as a high priority.

239.    Recently, Five-time world champion boxer MC Mary Kom has been named as the brand ambassador of Tribes India – an initiative of Ministry of Tribal Affairs to promote tribal artefacts. Apart from this, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs launched the “Punch Tantra” collection to promote tribal artefacts. Punch Tantra is an exclusive collection, which comprises a range of ethic and traditional tribal handicrafts and handloom products.

240.    The Union government has recently constituted an 8-member Lokpal Search Committee under the Chairmanship of former Supreme Court Judge, Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai, to recommend the chairperson and members of the anti-corruption ombudsman Lokpal. The committee has former chief of State Bank of India (SBI) Arundhati Bhattacharya, Prasar Bharati chairperson A Surya Prakash and ISRO head S Kiran Kumar as members.

241.    In Madhya Pradesh, India’s first corn festival is being held in Chhindwara from September 29 to bring together researchers, industrialists, farmers and other stakeholders from across the country to explore the unrealized potential of the city in becoming a hub for corn based industries. The 2-days festival is one of a kind international event. Chhindwara is the largest corn producing district in Madhya Pradesh with productivity of 5200Kg per hectare. In 2017-2018, the production is 12 lac ton corn from 2,60,000 hectare – highest in the state. Chhindwara is very well connected with Nagpur (130 km) and Wardha dry port (175 Km) via national and state highways. Hence, the city is best suited for developing Corn based industries. Corn (also known as Maize) has become a major industrial crop owing to its use in plethora of industries. The corn-based plastic is considered a bioplastic because it is made from plant materials.

242.    NITI Aayog has signed a Statement of Intent (SoI) with cloud services provider Oracle to curb the distribution of fake drugs using new technologies. Apollo Hospitals and Strides Pharma Sciences will partner in this effort. The partners will pilot a real drug supply chain using blockchain decentralized ledger and Internet of Things (IoT) software. The Blockchain technology helps to permanently register a drug’s record in the manufacturer’s drug supply chain (serial number, labelling, scanning), leaving no scope for record tampering. At every point of hand change, it records the drug’s movement – from manufacturer to logistics, to stockist to hospital, or pharmacy to consumer. In case of a fake drug, the software will detect irregularity. Additionally, critical information such as chemical ingredients of the drug or maintenance of temperature control in case of life saving drugs or vaccines can also be tracked.

243.    Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu has recently approved the constitution of a High Level Advisory Group (HLAG) to look into the opportunities and ways to address the ongoing challenges in the global trade scenario. The HLAG will be headed by Surjit S. Bhalla, Director of Oxus Research and Investments. The HLAG will consider ways for boosting India’s share and importance in global merchandise and services trade, managing pressing bilateral trade relations and mainstreaming new age policy making. The Terms of Reference (ToR) of the HLAG are to examine the prevailing international trade dynamics, including the rising protectionist tendencies, particularly by the major economies, non-engagement of some countries on outstanding trade negotiation issues and commitments, including the Doha Development Agenda, and their insistence on pursuing negotiating mandates, in many cases prematurely and without efforts, to build consensus and common understanding.

244.    No Indian institution figures in the top 250 of the Times Higher Education’s (THE) world university rankings 2019. Though, the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bengaluru has retained its position as the highest-ranked centre in India. It was placed between the 251-300 band, while IIT Indore, Bombay and Roorkee with Jagadguru Sri Shivarathreeswara University from Karnataka make the country’s top five. Globally, University of Oxford has acquired first position for a third consecutive year followed by Cambridge and Stanford University. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology rose one place to number four. In India, number of Indian institutions in the rankings increased from 42 last year to 49, making it the fifth best-represented nation.

245.    Public sector Assam Petrochemicals Limited will roll out India’s first methanolbased alternative cooking fuel at Namrup methanol plant in Dibrugarh district, Assam on October 5. The pilot project involves 500 burners and stoves, each fuelled by a 1.2-litre canister of methanol. It will be priced at around Rs 32 and about 18 of them would be equivalent to one conventional domestic LPG cylinder. The technology for the canister and the special burner has been provided by Sweden. At present, the Namrup plant produces 100 tonnes of methanol per day. The ongoing expansion of the plant will push production by 500 tonnes per day by September 2019. As per experts, methanol is clean and green fuel besides being 30% cheaper than Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG). It is a scalable and sustainable fuel that can be produced from a variety of feedstock like natural gas, coal, bio-mass, municipal solid waste and CO2.

246.     The World Rabies Day (WRD) is observed every year on September 28 to raise awareness about rabies prevention and to highlight progress in defeating this horrifying disease. The day also marks the anniversary of Louis Pasteur’s death, the French chemist and microbiologist, who developed the first rabies vaccine. The 2018 theme is ” Rabies: Share the message. Save a life! “. Today, safe and efficacious animal and human vaccines are among the important tools that exist to eliminate human deaths from rabies while awareness is the key driver for success of communities to engage in effective rabies prevention.

247.    Kerala is hosting the 8th Asian Yoga Sports Championship 2018 at the Jimmy George indoor stadium in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala from September 27 to 30. The event will witness around 500 participants representing 14 Asian countries showcasing their yoga skills. Yogaratna Awards will be given away to foreign delegates who were instrumental in popularising yoga in their respective countries. Participants from various countries including China, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Iran, Nepal, Vietnam, Afghanisthan and Bangladesh would vie for the top prizes in various categories. The Indian contingent included 111 yoga exponents, including five Keralites.

248.     Recently, the Ministry of AYUSH has set up an AYUSH Information Cell at the premises of the Indian Embassy in Romania to disseminate authentic information about AYUSH system of medicine. The AYUSH Information Cell in Romania will also be helpful to create awareness about the traditional Indian system of medicine. It will help to organise lectures, consultation, conduct seminars, training courses and facilitate associations of AYUSH stakeholders for networking conducting meetings, develop awareness of AYUSH system among public in Romania. The cell was digitally inaugurated by Vice President Venkaiah Naidu during his recent visit to Romania in September 2018. On this occasion, a book on ‘Ayurveda in Romania’ was also released by Vice president.

249.    Rajni Kant Mishra, a 1984 batch Indian Police Service officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre, has been appointed the new Director-General of Border Security Force (BSF). He will succeed K.K. Sharma, who is superannuating on September 30, 2018. Mr. Mishra has been shifted from the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB). He will head the BSF till August 31, 2019. Special D-G (BSF) S.S. Deswal, will replace Mr. Mishra in SSB.

250.    The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, under the aegis of Swachh Bharat Mission – Urban (SBM – U), has partnered with Google to launch Loo Review campaign to encourage all local guides in India to rate and review public toilets on Google Maps. This campaign is part of a feature which allows all citizens to locate public toilets in their cities on Google Maps, Search and the Assistant and also provide feedback on the same. The joint campaign to be run throughout October and November 2018 is an effort to increase the awareness and ease of locating public toilets across India. The campaign will involve and engage Local Guides in India to rate and review public toilets on Google Maps, and use the hashtag #LooReview for the chance to be featured on Google Local Guides’ social channels. Local Guides are people who share reviews, photos, and knowledge on Google Maps to help people explore the world. Currently, 500+ cities in India with more than 30,000 toilets with the name of “SBM Toilet” are live on Google Maps.

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